November 24, 2020 – Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) recently reached the midpoint of the first Extended Carrier Incremental Availability (ECIA) conducted at Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
This milestone was accompanied by a successful startup of Truman’s propulsion plant, the first time a crew has performed this evolution at the midpoint of a maintenance availability. The pioneering maintenance period began with Truman’s arrival to NNSY on July 7.
“What we are accomplishing here is truly historic,” said Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, Truman’s commanding officer. “A Nimitz-class carrier availability with a midpoint propulsion plant startup has never been attempted before. Our close partnership with the NNSY Truman project team has been the key to our success so far.”
Truman’s Fiscal Year 2020-2021 ECIA, dubbed the “Truman Project” in industry terms, differs from both the longer, traditional Planned Incremental Availabilities (PIA), which a carrier would typically conduct at the end of a three-year readiness cycle, and the shorter Carrier Incremental Availabilities (CIA), which are smaller in scope. This availability is tailored to ensure Truman’s material readiness for its next deployment. Some of the Truman Project maintenance includes repairs and inspections of aircraft support systems; upgrades and maintenance for various combat systems; work on various types of liquid storage tanks; engineering support equipment maintenance; as well as nuclear propulsion plant maintenance. According to Lt. Cmdr. Mike Dahlgren, Truman’s ship maintenance manager, the Truman Project includes approximately 306,000 man-days of maintenance over the course of about seven months, an enormous undertaking.
“The concept of an ECIA and half time propulsion plant start up is an innovative idea and involves lots of learning,” said Lt. Ryan Phinny, Truman’s assistant ship maintenance manager. “We understand there are going to be some lessons learned and some hiccups here and there, however, we are exceeding expectations in terms of actual shipyard performance and maintenance execution.”
Markedly, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the Honorable Ellen M. Lord and accompanying Department of Defense officials visited Truman Oct. 2 during an installation visit of NNSY. Lord’s objectives for the visit included gaining an enhanced familiarization with Navy maintenance projects, including the Truman project.
On Aug. 29, Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) departed a NNSY dry dock and joined Truman on pier 5A. This event marked the first time that two Nimitz-class ships have shared the same pier while conducting maintenance at NNSY.
“Two Nimitz-class carriers on one pier presents unique logistical challenges,” said Dahlgren. “There is a lot of material moving on the pier daily, which requires a tremendous amount of coordination. We developed a solid plan that is succeeding thus far.”
In another first, on Sept. 30, Truman and Bush conducted the first aircraft carrier combined fire drill at NNSY, in which Truman provided Bush with firefighting teams in a mutual effort to increase firefighting readiness and casualty response beyond the capabilities of each individual ship. This was in accordance with a fleet-wide initiative called for by Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, the Honorable James F. Geurts. On Nov. 18, Bush returned the favor, providing assistance teams to Truman in another combined drill.
“Drills such as these allow us to utilize our most valuable asset, our people,” Truman’s Damage Control Assistant, Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Sims, said after the first drill. “Having the knowledge and familiarity of a similar ship layout allows our team to be extremely effective in providing assistance to combat a fire onboard another aircraft carrier.”
In addition to these notable events, Commander, Naval Air Forces recently selected Truman’s Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department calibration laboratory as the Carrier Variant Nuclear Calibration Lab of the Quarter for the fourth consecutive quarter, which was subsequently selected as the CVN Calibration Lab of the Year.
“The Calibration Laboratory of the Year award is a great honor for our lab,” said Cmdr. Andres Pico, Truman’s maintenance officer. “The cal lab satisfies an indispensable requirement, ensuring all the gauges and equipment on the ship are performing within design tolerances. Our selection for this award represents great cooperation and communication throughout all departments on the ship. It’s an honor and a pleasure to work with such superb professionals.”
The award is expected to be presented in a ceremony on the ship within the coming weeks.