The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Charlotte (SSN 766) was certified for unrestricted operations Feb. 28, 2022, after completing sea trials and concluding a 32-month engineering overhaul (EOH) at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PHNSY & IMF).
The EOH which concluded in February, included mandatory maintenance that is typically conducted at the mid-point of a submarine’s service life. It includes necessary repairs and maintenance and modernization upgrades to ensure the submarine operates at full technical capacity and mission capability for its entire service life.
“The success of the project was through the team’s resilience to identify, attack and resolve challenges,” said Gilbert Gould, project superintendent for Charlotte’s fiscal year 2019 engineering overhaul. “Recognizing the proper help needed and elevating concerns in a timely manner was important to continuously progress work to completion.”
According to Gould, the project team developed a plan to safely maximize shipfitters and welders performing repairs in the tank. The team also developed a tracking tool that identified repairs by pockets, frames and joints. This allowed visibility of where repairs were being performed, provided scheduling accuracy to complete all repairs and allowed for preservation to undock the ship.
“The project team and the alteration team did an excellent job of seamlessly coordinating the industrial work, installing computer stations and completing radio room modifications,” Gould added.
According to Cmdr. Anthony Stranges, commanding officer of Charlotte, after she completed her engineering overhaul, she was certified for unrestricted operations following the completion of sea trials.
“The sea trials consisted of rigorous testing of all ship systems to ensure proper operation and performance following her extended maintenance period,” Stranges said. “Charlotte returns to the fleet more capable than when she entered the shipyard due to the hard work of the men and women of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, numerous support contractors, and her crew. Every day there is more of a demand signal for our submarines and we are grateful to be back in the fight to meet the needs of our nation.”
With that demand signal, the importance of returning ships and submarines from maintenance availabilities and overhauls on time, every time has never been more crucial in light of recent world events such as that in Ukraine and other contingencies that may arise throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Meanwhile, shipyard workers are aware of the urgency to ensure completion of projects and will continue to press forward with their nō ka ‘oi spirit.
PHNSY & IMF is a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command and a one-stop regional maintenance center for the Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii. It is the most comprehensive fleet repair and maintenance facility between the U.S. West Coast and the Far East, strategically located in the heart of the Pacific, being about a week’s steaming time closer to potential regional contingencies in the Indo-Pacific.