The Navy’s Portsmouth Naval Shipyard delivered the Los Angeles-class submarine, USS
Santa Fe (SSN-763), back to the fleet last month, following a two-year availability.
Navy officials underscored SSN-763 had a “challenging availability,” partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic struck about six months after Santa Fe was put into Dry Dock #1. In order to keep construction of the Dry Dock #1 super flood basin on schedule, Santa Fe had to undock on time. The project team, Ship’s Force, and PNS workforce showed up and worked together as a team to accomplish this goal and continued their efforts to get us where we are today,” Project Superintendent Gabe Griego said in a statement.
The ship first arrived at the shipyard in August 2019 for a scheduled engineered overhaul and was certified to rejoin the fleet on Feb. 25.
“It’s incredibly significant that the shipyard was able to work through the COVID environment and maintain schedule,” Capt. Garrett Burkholder, program manager for in-service attack submarines, added.
The Santa Fe is one of the 28 current Los Angeles-class submarines still in service, of the original 62 commissioned.
The Navy said two more submarines are set to be delivered from major maintenance periods within weeks. The Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is completing an overhaul on the fellow Los Angeles-class USS Charlotte (SSN-766) and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility is completing up the overhaul of the Ohio-class guided missile submarine USS Michigan (SSGN-727).
In November, Director of Undersea Warfare (N97) Rear Adm. Doug Perry said the Navy was systematically looking at each Los Angeles-class boat to see which can have their service lives extended by a few more years. Perry said the Navy selected Portsmouth as the best yard to conduct up to five submarine refuelings, due to the Navy having five spare propulsion plants available (Defense Daily, Nov. 19, 2021).
The Los Angeles-class submarines were built by General Dynamics [GD] Electric Boat and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ [HII] Newport News Shipbuilding.