USS Mount Whitney completes 10-month maintenance, returns home

USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) arrives in its forward-deployed port of Gaeta, Italy Oct. 27, 2017. Photo: US Navy

US Navy’s Blue Ridge-class command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) completed a ten-month maintenance period in Rijeka, Croatia, returning to its forward-deployed homeport in Gaeta, Italy on October 27.

The flag ship of US 6th Fleet completed a shipyard maintenance evolution at the Croatian Viktor Lenac shipyard.

During the maintenance availability, shipyard teams completed work on Mount Whitney’s generators, propeller, habitability spaces and command, control, communications, computers, cyber and intelligence systems.

“We had nearly $45 million worth of work on the hull, mechanical and electrical systems of the ship, and a complete upgrade of the computer systems,” said Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, commanding officer.

One of the major changes on the ship was the computer system upgrade to the new navy standard, Consolidated Afloat Network Enterprise Services (CANES).

“We installed two new antennas that are more capable and secure and with significantly more bandwidth,” said Hakimzadeh. “The other important thing was the installation of CANES and the computer network onboard.”

The 10-month project, completed by a cooperative group of U.S. Navy, Military Sealift Command civil service mariners, U.S. contractors and local shipyard workers resulted in the complete overhaul of the 47-year-old ship.

“It took us about 10-months, a little bit longer than we anticipated based on finding some additional problems along the way,” Hakimzadeh added. “Given the age of the ship, it wasn’t surprising to find things here and there. It was a highly successful effort by everyone and there was great cooperation with the Viktor Lenac shipyard.”

Mount Whitney, forward-deployed to Gaeta, Italy, operates with a combined crew of US Navy sailors and Military Sealift Command civil service mariners. The civil service mariners perform navigation, deck engineering and supply service operations, while military personnel support communications, weapons systems and security. It is one of only two seaborne Joint Command Platforms in the US Navy, both of which are forward deployed.

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