The U.S. Pacific Fleet said Wednesday that the damaged USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) will be repaired at the Naval Ship Repair Facility-Japan Regional Maintenance Center in Yokosuka, Japan.
In August, the Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided-missile destroyer collided with a commercial vessel near the Straights of Malacca and Singapore in the early morning hours. This caused severe damage and the deaths of 10 sailors. It was the second deadly collision involving this class of ship within three months (Defense Daily, Aug. 21).
This, along with the previously damaged USS Fitzgerald, has led to multiple investigations and Congressional hearings on Navy readiness and certifications (Defense Daily, Sept. 19).
The Navy said repairs will start after the McCain arrives in Japan from Singapore. The ship is being transported aboard a heavy lift vessel operated by SMIT Salvage and is planned to arrive this month (Defense Daily, Sept. 7).
The Pacific Fleet implied the McCain is less heavily damaged than the Fitzgerald. It said damage assessments conducted in Singapore “revealed the scope of work could be completed in Japan at the lowest estimated cost and returns the ship to full service at the earliest opportunity.”
In contrast, the Navy plans to award Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] a repair and upgrade contract for the Fitzgerald by the end of the fiscal year (Defense Daily, Aug. 23). HII will repair the Fitzgerald at its Pascagoula, Miss. facility following transport contracted out to Patriot Shipping (Defense Daily, Aug. 25).
The Navy did not reveal how much the McCain will cost to repair, but the USS Cole (DDG-67) bombing repair may be a close analogue to the situations for both the McCain and Fitzgerald. The Cole took 14 months of repairs and upgrades, costing about $400 million in 2017 dollars, when accounting for inflation.
The McCain is part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces assigned to the U.S. Seventh Fleet. The Navy noted fixing the ship in Japan is more convenient and “provides stability and continuity to crew members and their families.”
The Navy said the crew will support repairs to the ship as well as focus on training, readiness, and certification to prepare DDG-56 for a return to operational tasking.