Report on the DSRA
On January 31, 2020 NASSCO-Norfolk successfully completed a Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability (DSRA) on the USS Arleigh Burke (DDG-51), delivering much needed warfighting capability to the U.S. Navy. During this availability NASSCO-Norfolk executed more than 263 production work items which included 44 undocking critical work items and an array of critical Ship Alterations.
In addition to the critical work items, NASSCO – Norfolk, with the support of small business teaming partners, managed, executed, and completed a complete hull preservation, 71 tank inspections and repairs, to include 24 blast and preservation tanks, 992 ft2 of deck plating removal and replace, and removal and reinstallation of all 580 sonar transducers. Working with our counterparts from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center (MARMC) we were able to identify areas of high risk and mitigate any issues to allow the completion of work on time.
NASSCO-Norfolk, working with the government Alteration Installation Teams (AITs), supported the extensive install of SeaRAM, an advanced close-in missile defense system which has replaced the Close-In Weapons System (CIWS), and the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (AN/SLQ-32(V)6 SEWIP Block 2 Upgrade), requiring the overhaul of Radar room number one and electronic workshop number one. These upgrades greatly improved the warfighting capabilities of the USS Arleigh Burke.
The ship departed NASSCO-Norfolk shipyard to Naval Station Norfolk on December 21st, 2019, where she completed all milestones on time including Damage Control Material Assessment (DCMA), Light Off Assessment (LOA), and was three days early for dock trails and subsequent completion of a successful Sea Trails on January 31, 2020. Completing her DSRA on time allowed her to commence Fleet workups to be ready to join the Forward Deployed Naval Forces (FDNF) in Rota, Spain in early 2021.
Ship update – Feb
USS Arleigh Burke and her crew have officially returned to Norfolk Naval Base and are ready to transition from shipyard life to the training cycle.
After nearly a year in the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard, to include over six months in drydock, USS Arleigh Burke is in the final stages of its maintenance phase.
During this extensive overhaul, USS Arleigh Burke was outfitted with some of the most advanced technologies our Navy has to offer. These technologies will give our crew maximum warfighting capability as we gear up for deployment next year and prepare to tackle the challenges posed by Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, and terrorism.
The ship has been upgraded with new electronic warfare, cryptologic, and computer network capabilities. We’ve received software upgrades for our Aegis, Tomahawk, and Undersea Weapons Systems, as well as our Navigation System.
In addition, new hardware has been installed in the form of SeaRAM, an advanced close-in missile defense system, which has replaced our aft CIWS (Close-In Weapons System) mount.
In the coming weeks and months, our crew will train to these systems and prepare to use them to their maximum capability during the training cycle and beyond.
In the meantime, we are working through maintenance phase exit criteria, a very challenging time in any ship’s life cycle.
In January 2020, the ship conducted Damage Control Material Assessment (DCMA), a detailed inspection of all damage control equipment on the ship. It is an evaluation to make sure that in the event of a fire, flooding, or any casualty to the ship, the crew is able to combat the casualty and minimize damage.
Upon completion of that event, the crew rolled into Light Off Assessment (LOA). This week requires long hours and extreme attention to detail from the crew. The main focus during the final week of LOA is being certain that all engineering spaces are safe to operate.
All ship spaces, and engineering spaces in particular, must be cleaned and wiped down, deck plates must be secured, electrical equipment must be operating in accordance with electrical safety, and damage control equipment must be within periodicity.
Once the inspection is complete, watch standers begin a series of equipment checks and demonstrate that the equipment in the engineering plant works within parameters.
At the time of this writing, the ship is in the final stages of LOA.
Once complete, we will conduct Dock Trials, which requires us to test all our equipment, and then transition to Fast Cruise, which is a two-day long simulated underway in which the entire crew steps through the underway routine, to include man overboard and general quarters drills.
When Fast Cruise concludes, the crew will head out to sea for Contractor Sea Trials, in which we will demonstrate all our installed equipment and ensure USS Arleigh Burke still operates as originally designed.
Exciting times are ahead for USS Arleigh Burke and her crew. After a year in the shipyards, we look forward to returning to sea as one of the Navy’s most advanced and capable warships.
Ship update – June
In January we completed engineering Light-Off Assessment (LOA), an intensive week-long inspection of our engineering plant, complete with a full-blown main space fire drill. It was a grueling week, but this crew kept a positive attitude and pushed hard – mission accomplished!
From there, the ship immediately rolled into Dock Trials, Fast Cruise, and Contractor Sea Trials. This was another challenging stretch of time, but the crew rose to the occasion and executed high speed runs, lit off its combat systems equipment, conducted a precision anchorage, streamed its towed array, and tested many capabilities.
In February and March, the ship was in port Norfolk getting emergent repairs done on its fuel tanks. We capitalized on this unplanned in port time by getting ahead on some of our certification events.
Early mornings, late nights, and lots of teamwork enabled us to earn early certifications in Anti-Terrorism, Communications, and Visit Board Search & Seizure warfare areas. As it always does, the crew came together as a single warfighting unit to pass these inspections led by Afloat Training Group (A TG).
In February, our wardroom hosted Capt. (ret.) Rick Easton on board for the first of our Leadership & Legacy Luncheon series. Capt. Easton spoke with our officers about leadership, warfighting, and the power of enthusiasm. It was a memorable luncheon, and we look forward to having him aboard again!
Later that month, we hosted the second in our Leadership & Legacy Luncheon series, this time with Capt. Corey Keniston, former Commanding Officer of USS Arleigh Burke from 2010-2012. This was another fantastic event, and our officers learned about career planning vs. life planning, and discussed complex leadership issues such as conduct and morale.
In March, the COVID-19 pandemic added a layer of complexity to our lives that no one expected. Social distancing became the norm, and we have worked together as a rew to navigate these uncharted waters.
On the messdecks and in the wardroom, every other seat is taped off to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed. On the mess line, blue tape is spaced out every six feet help crew members keep their distance from each other. Meetings that used to occur in smaller spaces have been relocated. We all wear masks onboard. Social gatherings have been cancelled.
The COVID-19 problem has been a challenging one, but we were determined not to let it get in our way, and we found a way to overcome this obstacle and get back out to sea.
In mid-April, we got underway for TYCOM Sea Trials and our READ-E 5 inspection, a prelude to INSUR V . We shot all our guns, conducted an anchor drop test, executed a detect-to-engage sequence with a leer jet, ran the ship at full speed, and received all kinds of material inspections. Our results were not perfect, but they were pretty good. We are proud of the material condition of the oldest (or “saltiest”, as we like to say) destroyer in the fleet!
After that inspection, we tested our newest weapons system, SeaRAM. As mentioned in the last article, this was one of our major upgrades from the last shipyard availability. This test involved a live-fire missile shoot, and our weapons department executed it to perfection! The drone didn’t stand a chance.
Since the missile shoot, we have certified in our Aviation and Damage Control warfare areas. We have made great strides in our navigation, seamanship, and engineering warfare areas as well.
We remain out at sea, working hard in this COVID-19 environment to ensure we are ready to go when our nation calls on us. It’s great to be out to sea and carrying on the proud legacy forged by the sailors who have gone before us on this mighty warship.
Ship update – October
Since the last edition of The Destroyerman, the optempo for USS Arleigh Burke and her crew has only intensified. In May, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) officially announced the ship’s homeport shift to Rota Spain in the Spring of 2021, setting the stage for an action-packed year as we prepare to become one of the nation’s forward deployed assets in Europe.
The most important piece of our preparations has been training. In the last few months, this crew has worked incredibly hard to overcome an extremely compressed schedule and keep the Basic Phase of the training cycle on track, a challenge made all the more difficult by COVID-19 and its associated restrictions.
As of this writing, the crew has certified an astonishing 15 warfare areas: Seamanship, Navigation, Damage Control, Aviation, Engineering, Communications, Visit Board Search & Seizure, Anti-Terrorism Force Protection, Cyber, Explosive Safety, Anti-Submarine Warfare, Medical, Search & Rescue, Naval Surface Fire Support, and Supply.
That many certifications in such a short period of time would be a tremendous accomplishment under any circumstance, but is especially impressive given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 environment. Both ATG and the ship’s crew had to work through challenging COVID policies with many unexpected twists and turns.
During our July underway we had our first confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard. We swiftly medevac’d our shipmates by helo and had them tested once it was apparent that they were having COVID-like symptoms.
The ship executed an emergency inbound transit to Norfolk Naval Station and had the entire crew tested for the virus, with multiple sailors testing positive. During that in-port period the ship was at a complete standstill. For
14 days the ship was manned by two “super duty sections,” with each section standing seven days of duty straight. Thankfully, all our sailors recovered quickly.
Following the COVID operational pause, we had to work even harder to make up for lost ground. Achieving certifications often required creativity and quick-thinking as key players had to sit out events because of COVID-like symptoms. To overcome, less experienced personnel often had to rise up and carry the team across the finish line. Not surprisingly, this crew rose to the occasion every time.
We pushed forward with our Basic Phase events and also executed real-world operational tasking, to include supporting Submarine Sea Trials with the USS Wyoming (SSBN 742) and a Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise known as Black Widow.
Meanwhile, in the background, our sailors are working hard to get ready for Rota, Spain. There has been a huge push to get passports, wills, powers of attorney, and other administrative and legal items accomplished, all while balancing COVID restrictions and certification requirements. It has been a challenging few months!
But these challenges create incredible opportunities, and we cannot wait to join the tip of the spear as a forward deployed unit in the Mediterranean. Sailors will begin executing PCS moves to Rota, Spain in November of this year. As of this writing, the ship is at the tail end of the Basic Phase and gearing up for the Advanced and Integrated Phases. We have an exciting year ahead, and we promise to keep everyone posted on how it unfolds.