Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) undocked USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) on time Aug. 29, a key milestone in the carrier’s Drydocking Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA). Bush has been on blocks the past 18 months, undergoing the most extensive maintenance period in the carrier’s history and one of NNSY’s most complex CVN CNO availabilities ever. This drydocking period marked the first time Bush had not been waterborne since 2006. For the first time in NNSY history, two aircraft carriers will be sharing a pier. Bush is now neighbors with USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75), currently undergoing an Extended Carrier Incremental Availability which began in July.
Undocking on time, despite challenges associated with COVID-19, is something Burchett credited to teamwork and perseverance across all working levels and groups supporting the availability, from the project team and Ship’s Force to Alteration Installation Teams and contractors. “We have been laser-focused throughout on getting Bush out of dock on time, and the folks that worked throughout the pandemic kept us on schedule,” said Burchett. “They stepped up their game, and it was incredible how they kept us going to make us successful. I can’t stress enough of how proud I am of this team. The camaraderie and the relationships have been amazing, and the driving force behind the success of this availability.”
NNSY has been implementing a number of 21st century capabilities and innovations to facilitate work throughout the availability, including the use of cold spray to repair components in the U.S. Navy’s first organic cold spray repairs conducted at any of the four public shipyards. Laser scanning was used to facilitate installation of sponsons onboard, supporting first time quality in the fit-up. Burchett added the shipyard’s special emphasis group developed unique weight handling equipment using electric winches for servicing components while in the dry dock.In addition to working innovatively, the team is also working safely. Bush currently has the best safety record of the past three DPIAs at NNSY.
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) is the tenth and final Nimitz-class supercarrier of the United States Navy. She is named for the 41st President of the United States and former Director of Central Intelligence George H. W. Bush, who was a naval aviator during World War II. The vessel’s callsign is Avenger, after the TBM Avenger aircraft flown by then-Lieutenant George H.W. Bush in World War II. Construction began in 2003 at the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard’s Dry Dock 12, the largest in the western hemisphere. She was completed in 2009 at a cost of $6.2 billion and her home port is Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.