The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) finished nearly two years of necessary repairs in Japan and went underway for comprehensive at-sea testing on Oct. 27.
DDG-56 collided with a commercial vessel off the coast of Singapore in August 2017, causing the death of 10 sailors and requiring extensive repairs at theYokosuka Naval Ship Repair Facility- Japan Regional maintenance Center (Defense Daily, Oct. 4, 2017).
The ship arrived in Yokosuka for repairs in December 2017 and has been undergoing repair and upgrades there ever since (Defense Daily, Dec. 15, 2017).
Repairs also included accelerated upgrades to the ship’s computer network, antenna systems, radar array, combat weapons systems, and berthing.
During the tests, the ship and crew will perform a set of demonstrations to evaluate whether the ship’s systems meet or exceed performance specifications. Systems to be tested include combat systems, communications, damage control, navigation, mechanical and electrical systems, and propulsion application, the Navy said.
Between repairs and upgrades and this current testing, DDG-56 finished the in-port phase of training. The ship will continue basic phase at-sea training in the next months “to certify in every mission area the ship is required to perform and prepare for return to operational tasking,” the Navy said.
The ship “has completed her maintenance period with the most up-to-date multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities, preparing her to successfully execute a multitude of high-end operations,” Capt. Steven DeMoss, commander, Destroyer Squadron 15, said in a statement,
The McCain is assigned to Destroyer Squadron 15 and is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, within the 7th Fleet.
“This whole crew is eager to get back to sea, and that’s evident in the efforts they’ve made over the last two years to bring the ship back to fighting shape, and the energy they’ve put into preparing themselves for the rigors of at-sea operations,” Cmdr. Ryan T. Easterday, John S. McCain‘s commanding officer, said in a statement.
McCain’s collision came after the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62), also collided with a commercial vessel off Japan that same year. Fitzgerald first left its dry dock and was moored pier side at the Huntington Ingalls Indsutries [HII] shipyard n Pascagoula, Miss., in April, 15 months after repairs started (Defense Daily, April 17).
The two collisions and 17 total sailor deaths led to an examination of operating, manning, and training surface force ships throughout the Navy, but especially in the Pacific theater.