Aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) arrived at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth June 16 for an extended Planned Incremental Availability (PIA).
Maintenance on Bush is scheduled to last eight months and one week, which is longer than the normal six-month PIA, largely due to critical path work on the Vacuum Collection Holding Tanks (VCHT).
In addition to the VCHT upgrades, the work package includes installing two new sponsons, which are platforms extending from the hull of the ship to house the carrier’s Close-In Weapons System (CIWS).
The sponsons will be fabricated by a contractor and then installed using a floating crane. Bush will be pierside, and the sponsons will be installed while the ship is in the water, something that has never been done before, according to Jeff Burchett, deputy project superintendent.
Bush is scheduled to complete its availability at NNSY March 8. NNSY completed the first PIA on Bush in December 2012, returning the aircraft carrier to the fleet two days early and under budget.
Image: US Navy