USS Wyoming Arrives at Norfolk for Mid-Life Refueling
PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Ohio-class ballistic-missile submarine USS Wyoming arrived at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) Jan. 9 for its 27-month Engineered Refueling Overhaul (ERO), Naval Sea Systems Command said in a Jan. 25 release.
EROs are complex, major shipyard maintenance availabilities that extend a submarine’s service life. The availability also marks the first time NNSY workers will modify the layout of berthing or sleeping areas onboard a submarine to include female enlisted service members.
The remainder of the planned work is similar to the shipyard’s ERO currently being conducted on USS Rhode Island, allowing the Wyoming project to leverage off record-setting successes and valuable experience gained during that overhaul.
“Apples to apples, it’s pretty much the same,” said John Walker, project superintendent. “We’re looking to get at least 70 percent of the employees who worked on the Rhode Island to roll over to the Wyoming.”
The project team is already off to a strong start, completing the Resource Constrained Schedule (RCS) 14 days early. This schedule provides an overarching integrated plan on the number of personnel needed to conduct work throughout the overhaul.
“With the RCS, you’re leveling the shipyard’s resources across the whole 27-month availability,” Walker said. “Now we don’t have to focus on that as we move into the actual execution phase. It’s a huge deal to get it done.”
Walker said the team already has a new record in its sights for this ERO. In February 2017, Rhode Island finished refueling in 217 days, setting a new record at NNSY thanks to safety, effective planning and timely execution of quality of work. NNSY’s former refueling record was on USS Alaska’s ERO, which completed its availability on schedule in March 2009.
“We’re scheduled to complete refueling in 213 days,” Walker said. “It is both aggressive and achievable. We’re taking the lessons learned from the Rhode Island, and we’re utilizing much of the same team.”
Rhode Island also raised the bar by undocking two days early in July. Walker points out that sharing lessons learned is essential when it comes to setting new standards for Ohio-class EROs at NNSY.
“I was there for most of that availability [as deputy project superintendent] before I transitioned over to [the ship] Wyoming,” he said, “and I’m still in contact with that project team every single day.”
NNSY, a field activity of Naval Sea Systems Command, is one of the oldest and largest industrial facilities belonging to the U.S. Navy, and specializes in repairing, overhauling and modernizing ships and submarines.