Amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) returned to homeport Naval Station Norfolk, July 14, after completing sea trials.
These sea trials consisted of a series of evolutions to test the integrity of the work performed by the contractors recently performed during a five-month planned maintenance availability at BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair.
“During this underway we tested all the work done by contractors at BAE, ship’s force, and AIT (Alteration Installation Team),” said Cmdr. Douglas Waskiewicz, Kearsarge’s chief engineer.
This sea trial wasn’t scheduled because the contractors’ work wasn’t trusted, but all installations must be tested at sea to ensure they function properly when needed most.
“It is kind of like buying a new car,” said Command Master Chief David Randall. “You don’t buy a car without taking it out for a test drive. It is the same thing. They have done a lot of work on the ship and we wanted to make sure it all works before it’s all signed off on. If anything isn’t working, we have warranties for it to be fixed.”
Once all the testing was completed and the ship pulled back in port, civilian contractors came aboard to assess the amount of repairs needed and to create a plan to tackle the job.
Not only was there operational testing of the installments from contractors, but many other evolutions have occurred as a result of this underway period. There have been numerous drills such as man overboard drills, high speed maneuvers and rudder swing checks, flying squad drills, crew live fires, streamed AN/SLQ-25A (Nixie) and main space fire drills.
Besides all of the training and drills, Kearsarge is just trying to get back into the swing of being underway.
Along with all of the surface warfare tasks, Kearsarge also performed a fuel certification test, which is part of the overall air certification needed in order to fly military aircraft off the flight deck.
The fuel certification involved starting the systems back up in the pump rooms, getting fuel topside without any leakage, inspecting the pipes, pressures, the purifiers, the hose reels, and all the fuel stations.
Kearsarge will continue with certification exercises throughout the summer.