PACIFIC OCEAN -- After being moored pierside at Naval Air Station North Island for six months, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) successfully completed a Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) ahead of schedule while underway conducting sea trials Dec. 4.
The successful coordination and team effort between the ship and shipyard allowed the completion of the availability four days early and saved the U.S. Navy 4 million dollars.
“Vinson’s ability to complete our availability period early is a huge win for the ship, the shipyards, the Navy, and the American people,” said Capt. P. Scott Miller, Vinson’s commanding officer. “This accomplishment allows us to return to operational readiness and to get back to supporting and defending our nation.”
Vinson started the maintenance period in June 2022, and over the duration of the availability, the ship received upgrades and repairs that enhanced its capabilities and lifecycle.
“This PIA was a much needed maintenance period to repair critical equipment onboard and install new systems and upgrades to our current configuration after a rigorous Western Pacific deployment,” said Cmdr. David Tirey, Vinson’s chief engineer. “PIAs are critical to a ship’s overall health so we can continue to operate the ship for the planned 50-year lifecycle and maintain an operational readiness guaranteeing Carl Vinson is always mission ready.”
During PIA, testing and repairs focused on all areas of the ship to include habitability spaces, the flight deck, navigation, communications, radars, weapons, and information systems.
“The project team executed 1,571 work items of production completing 17 thousand certification phases in 36,735 total man-days. The ship’s crew completed 326,017 man-hours for the ship's force work package,” said Tirey. “This unprecedented ship's force work package included the refurbishment of 820 berthing racks in 22 berthings, the restoration of 20 heads, as well as, the painting of 215 spaces and the replacement of 90,000 square feet of decking."
In addition to effecting mission capability, the completion of PIA ahead of schedule had a huge impact on fiscal savings for the U.S. Navy.
“Ultimately, by finishing early, we saved roughly a total of four million dollars,” said Tirey. The early completion of Vinson’s PIA is an exceptional accomplishment; not only saving money but also ensuring cost overruns and delays did not occur.
Vinson’s successful PIA was a joint effort spread among the ship’s crew, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS), and Southwest Regional Maintenance Center.
“The reason we were so successful in finishing PIA early was by building relationships amongst private sector maintenance and ships force; and the shipyard ability to understand who our counterparts were,” said Kendall Carlson, project superintendent for PSNS. “Those relationships aided the planning efforts with ship’s leadership to develop strategies for how to execute early.”
Tirey agreed that the strong relationships among the ship’s crew and maintenance professionals were key in the early completion of PIA.
“I was surrounded by maintenance professionals who were super motivated to meet every milestone on time or early and I’m very proud to be part of America’s favorite maintenance team,” said Tirey. “The ultimate goal is come out of the availability on time and in a better material readiness. Not only did we meet that goal, but we did it earlier than expected.”
With PIA complete, Vinson is setting its sights on future operations.
“Coming out of PIA, Vinson is required to complete a series of inspections, certifications, and training events that will prepare us for the next deployment,” said Tirey. “We are looking forward to becoming operational again, taking the ship out to sea and coming together as a diverse team with a common mission and purpose, demonstrating our readiness to deploy globally and counter any threat.”