ARLINGTON, Va. — The attack submarine USS Boise has arrived at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Newport News Shipbuilding division in Newport News, Virginia, to prepare for its long-delayed overhaul, Naval Sea Systems Command said in a May 8 release.
The Boise was shifted from Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, “to begin pre-maintenance ‘smart start’ activities in preparation for the submarine’s engineered overhaul (EOH),” Bill Couch, a NAVSEA spokesman, said in the release.
“An EOH is a major multiyear overhaul near the midpoint of a submarine’s service life to perform necessary repairs, maintenance and modernization, to certify the submarine for unrestricted operations and to ensure the submarine is operating at full technical capacity and mission capability,” Couch said.
The Los Angeles-class attack submarine had been scheduled for an overhaul in 2013, but the work was delayed because of the work backlog at the Navy’s four shipyards that are certified to overhaul nuclear-powered vessels, the Government Accountability Office said in a November 2018 report.
The Boise completed its most recent deployment in 2015 and had been tied up at Naval Station Norfolk since. It was no longer able to conduct operations by mid-2016 and lost its dive certification in February 2017. The backlog led the Navy to award, in October 2017, a contract to Newport News Shipbuilding, one of two U.S. submarine builders, to overhaul nuclear-powered submarines in addition to its normal work of building submarines.
The delays in depot-level maintenance cause not only backlogs in the work itself but result in loss of hundreds or even thousands of days in service and reduced availability of attack subs for deployments in support of the requirements of combatant commanders.