The USS Oscar Austin (DDG-79) Arleigh Burke
-class guided-missile destroyer completed four days of sea trials in February and returned to Naval Station Norfolk, completing one of the last steps to rejoining the operational fleet following a fire in 2018 that took it out of the service.
The destroyer was damaged in an electrical fire at a Norfolk, Va., maintenance yard in November 2018. Following the fire the maintenance period was stopped and the ship required significant repair work before being ready to join the fleet and now it is almost ready.
The sea trial underway period was one of the ship’s final requirements to rejoin the operational fleet after the extended maintenance and modernization period that included ship repairs and planned modernization work, the Navy said.
The service also noted that since the ship has been in a modernization period for so long, most of the sailors aboard DDG-79 have never been underway on it. However, it said the sailors built and maintained their skills and proficiency in various training, simulators and other ships.
“The Oscar Austin team showed superb resilience, technical skill, and professionalism in this highly anticipated return to sea following an extended availability,” Capt. Stefan Walch, commodore of Destroyer Squadron Two, said in a statement.
The Navy said that due to the “unique nature” of DDG-79’s maintenance and modernization period it allowed Oscar Austin’s sailors to do more of their own repairs and modernization than typically done in standard shipyard periods.
“This also meant that the ship did not have the normal contingent of shipyard workers onboard for sea trials, instead relying on the ship’s crew and a small group of government experts in order to safely operate during sea trials,” the Navy added.
These trials included precision anchorage events, testing of the ship’s anchor, validation and calibration of navigation equipment, testing, and data collection on the ship’s main engines and electrical power plant. The ship was back at Naval Station Norfolk on Feb. 17.