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Puget Sound Naval Shipyard dry docks busy in 2020 and beyond


It's set to be a busy year for Kitsap County's biggest employer. All six of the graving docks at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard are full to start 2020. In a letter to the workforce in the shipyard's Salute newsletter, Capt. Dianna Wolfson addressed the need to crank up productivity in an era Navy leaders call the "great power competition" with countries like China and Russia.


Puget Sound Naval Shipyard or Navy Yard Puget Sound Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (Picture source:  Wikimedia - Brycermeyer)


According to Capt. Dianna Wolfson, commander, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility, urgency isn’t about working harder, it’s about working smarter and more efficiently. There must be a sense of urgency to act boldly and make each minute count.

The ongoing availabilities and the work scheduled for 2020 indicate it is going to be a busy year for the PSNS & IMF workforce.

Here is how 2020 is starting off:

Dry Dock 1: USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720) is undergoing a 13-month inactivation availability, which is scheduled to complete in 2020. During this part of the ship’s retirement, the vessel will be decommissioned. This work will allow the crew to return to the fleet and will prepare the ship for long-term storage.

Dry Dock 2: USS Michigan (SSGN 727) is undergoing a 17-month Extended Refit Period scheduled to complete in late 2020 or early 2021. During the refit, the shaft and the batteries will be changed out, and the command and control systems will be upgraded. Teams will also do preservation work on the superstructure and the main ballast tank.

Dry Dock 3: Well underway in Dry Dock 3 is the recycling of ex-Narwhal (SSN 671) and old Caisson 3. The team is on schedule to complete recycling including the shipment of the reactor compartment package in 2020. Caisson 3 was replaced 10 years ago. Since there wasn't a vendor to recycle the old one, Code 350 was able to perform the work as a testing platform for new cold cutting technology. Following the completion of these projects in Dry Dock 3 will be the docking of ex-Minneapolis St. Paul (SSN 708) and ex-Augusta (SSN 710) in late 2020.

Dry Dock 4: USS Louisiana (SSBN 743) is undergoing a 31-month Engineered Refueling Overhaul that began in September. While the ship is being refuelled, preservation work will also be done on the hull, the superstructure and several of the tanks. Tactical systems, berthing and the reverse osmosis system will also be upgraded. The project is scheduled to complete in 2022.

Dry Dock 5: USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) is undergoing a 25-month Extended Dry-Docking Selected Restricted Availability that began in July 2018. During the availability, the combat systems, communications systems and the sonar system will be upgraded. The overall project is tracking to complete on time in 2020. Project teams have been formed and are working on the planning for the upcoming USS Olympia (SSN 717) and USS Louisville (SSN 724) inactivation availabilities.

Dry Dock 6: USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) is undergoing a 17-month Docking Planned Incremental Availability that began in February. The ship’s shafting and rudders, as well as the distilling unit will be worked on. Hull preservation work will also be completed. Sea chest and ready-fortraining inspections will be conducted before the dry dock is flooded. The availability is tracking to complete in the summer of 2020.

Work in Puget Sound shipyard is unlikely to slow down in this next decade. The Navy is gearing up for a $21 billion modernization of its four shipyards — Puget Sound's being biggest by employment numbers (at roughly 14,000) — to include Norfolk, Virginia, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. New cranes will be installed at the docks in the coming years as well.