The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) reached a milestone in its repair on April 16 when it successfully left the dry dock and was moored pier-side at the Huntington Ingalls Industries [HII] shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss.
The ship’s launch into the water came over a year after HII started repairing, restoring and modernizing the damaged destroyer in January 2018. Work has focused on restoring the integrity of the hull and topside structures damaged in the original collision (Defense Daily, Jan. 19, 2018).
In June 2017 the Fitzgerald collided with a merchant ship in an incident that killed 7 sailors (Defense Daily, June 18, 2017).
It was later loaded on a heavy lift vessel that sailed to Pascagoula for repairs and upgrades. The work includes upgrades the ship was scheduled to get during a FY 2019 availability.
When the ship entered the Pascagoula shipyard the Navy said it expected repair work to take about 24 months, including keeping DDG-62 at a land-level facility through the first or second quarter of 2019. After repair work is finished the ship will undergo a test and trial period to ensure all systems and spaces are at full functionality.
HII is conducting various Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (HM&E), Combat System (CS) and Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C5I) repairs to return the affected space to full functionality and operations. This includes partial or complete refurbishment of impacted spaces as well as replacing equipment like radar and the electronic warfare suite, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) said.
As part of the repair work, the Fitzgerald is also getting HM&E, CS, and C5I modernization upgrades.
“The complexity of this overhaul has been challenging, but our planning team at Bath Iron Works and waterfront team at HII is executing repairs and installing upgrades so that Fitzgerald returns to our Sailors lethal and mission-ready,” Rear Adm. Jim Downey, deputy commander for surface warfare and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center, said in a statement. “We’re excited to have the ship back in the water where we can begin outfitting and testing efforts in support of getting the ship and crew back underway.”
Bath Iron Works is part of the shipbuilding segment of General Dynamics [GD].
Cmdr. Garrett Miller, DDG-62’s commanding officer, said “this undocking is a step forward and brings us that much closer to getting Fitzgerald back out to sea – where the ship belongs.”
In late 2017 Congress approved and the President signed a continuing resolution that provided $673.5 million to repair the Fitzgerald and the similarly damaged USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) (Defense Daily, Dec. 22).