By Katie Vanes, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard Public Affairs – PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard supported the first deployment of a Virginia-class (VACL) submarine from Pearl Harbor May 19 by completing three work availabilities in five months on schedule and within budget.
“USS Texas demonstrated the ability of the Shipyard to meet the challenges, adapt to rapid technological changes and support the next generation of submarine maiden deployments,” said Lt. Michael Canavati, current project superintendent of the Texas team. “The availabilities showcased our increased awareness and capability with Virginia-class submarines.”
Since Texas came to Pearl Harbor Nov. 23, the Shipyard completed two initial pre-overseas movements (POM) and a load-out period before deployment. POMs are short-term maintenance periods scheduled every six months before submarines deploy and average 30 to 35 days to complete.
During the first POM, work was performed on the main seawater valve and ship service hydraulic piping, according to Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Jack Durand, one of the two ship superintendents who coordinated the Texas POMs. Cofferdams were also installed on the bow planes for underwater work.
“There was superb support and integration of the ship’s force with the Shipyard throughout the pre-deployment availabilities,” said Durand. “Commanding Officer Cmdr. Robert Roncska always made sure work was getting done on the crew’s end.”
The second POM consisted of several tasks, including the replacement of key components and improvements to weapons systems. Some of these tasks were especially challenging because of the unique design associated with VACL submarines.
Load-out periods usually entail minor jobs like loading the food, painting and last-minute preparations. However, Shipyard workers performed a crucial torpedo firing air valve replacement during Texas’ load-out period. This was the first time this had been done on a VACL submarine at the Shipyard, according to Chief Machinist’s Mate Ryan Flaherty.
“Working on Virginia-class ships has been a constant learning process, from the planners and engineers all the way to the mechanics on the deck plates,” said Flaherty. “When we perform work on Texas or Hawaii, it is frequently a first-time job. On Los Angeles-class submarines, which have been around since the 1970s, there are very few jobs that haven’t been done before.”
Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard is a full-service naval shipyard and regional maintenance center for the U.S. Navy’s surface ships and submarines. It is the largest industrial employer in the state of Hawaii with a combined civilian and military workforce of about 4,800. It has an operating budget of $563 million and infuses $700 million a year into the local economy.
Strategically located in the mid-Pacific, the Shipyard is about a week of steam time closer to potential major regional contingencies in East Asia than sites on the West Coast.
For more information on Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, visit www.navsea.navy.mil/shipyards/pearl.