Portsmouth Naval Shipyard successfully delivered USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) back to the fleet February 25 following an extensive two-year availability.
Santa Fe and her crew of 16 officers and 127 enlisted personnel arrived at the shipyard on Aug. 15, 2019. Project Superintendent Gabe Griego, along with the project team and Ship’s Force, collaborated to overcome late stage hurdles on the project.
“This was a challenging availability,” said Griego. “The pandemic struck about six months after Santa Fe was put into Dry Dock #1. In order to keep construction of the Dry Dock #1 super flood basin on schedule, Santa Fe had to undock on time. The project team, Ship’s Force, and PNS workforce showed up and worked together as a team to accomplish this goal, and continued their efforts to get us where we are today.”
Modernization of the Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarines is complex and demanding. Performing this vital work during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring new obstacles and challenges to overcome. These challenges were met head on with determination and perseverance.
“It’s incredibly significant that the shipyard was able to work through the COVID environment and maintain schedule,” said Capt. Garrett Burkholder, program manager for in-service attack submarines. “[This delivery] is a testament to our shipyards and the resiliency of our workforce that they get through those challenges every single day.”
Santa Fe is one of the remaining 29 Los Angeles-class submarines still in service, including one Moored Training Ship, of the original 62 commissioned.
“The Santa Fe team showed true grit and tenacity to reach the end game of this availability,” said Shipyard Commander, Capt. Michael Oberdorf. “The team worked tenaciously through sea trials and delivered Santa Fe back to the fleet knowing every submarine is vital to protecting U.S. interests worldwide. I’m proud of this workforce, as their quality work protects those who put themselves in harm’s way for the greater good.”
Two more submarines will be delivered from major maintenance periods in the coming weeks. Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is completing an overhaul on USS Charlotte (SSN 766) while Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is wrapping up the overhaul of guided missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN 727).
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is America’s leader for attack submarine maintenance, repair, and modernization. The on-time completion of submarine availabilities is critical to maintaining the U.S. Navy’s maritime superiority. As a NAVSEA operated field activity, PNS is committed to expanding our undersea advantage and maximizing the material readiness of the fleet by safely delivering first-time quality, on time, and on budget.