Wednesday, January 27, 2010

USS George H.W. Bush Departs for Sea Trials

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) is underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting sea trials. George H.W. Bush will return to homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. to begin the workup cycle towards deployment after an extensive seven-month post shakedown availability and selective restrictive availability trials. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jason Winn/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nathan A. Bailey, USS George H.W. Bush Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) departed Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., for sea trials Jan. 27 after a seven-month maintenance period.

During Sea Trials, the ship's electronics, communication, navigation and other combat systems that were built or modified in the shipyard will be tested.

In addition, an inspection of the ship's catapults and jet blast deflectors will be conducted, as well as inspections of the ship's berthing spaces, demonstrations of search and rescue equipment firefighting capabilities, and an evaluation of food service facilities to determine the ship's overall mission readiness.

Bush's sea trials comes after a highly successful Post Shakedown Availability/Selective Restrictive Availability that officially completed the construction of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier.

"In just seven months, the ship experienced an amount of depot and intermediate level work comparable to an 11-month planned incremental availability," said Bush's Chief Engineer, Cmdr. Shannon Terhune.

Work on the ship over the last seven months included finishing the airwing spaces and combat systems suite, implementation of ship alterations to get the ship on the class maintenance plan, and the completion of the ship's force work package.

Ship's force work saved the Navy more than half a million dollars, according to Bush Engineering Department Leading Chief Petty Officer, Master Chief Machinist's Mate (SW) Al Fuller, and more than 60 percent of the overall ship's force work package fell to Engineering Department Sailors to complete.

One major undertaking was completed by Damage Control division, who exhausted more than 6,800 man hours upgrading the ship's 10 damage control repair stations and 27 damage control unit lockers, saving the Navy more than $680,000.

Another upgrade included Electric division converting the carrier's "77" island lights from incandescent bulbs to light emitting diode, saving the Navy 90 percent of the cost associated with light operation. Terhune credited the teamwork and cooperation between ship's force, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Program Manager for Ships (In-Service Aircraft Carriers), Commander Naval Air Forces Atlantic (Maintenance and Material), Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair (Newport News), and more than 20 separate contractor organizations for an unprecedented level of efficiency in the execution of production work on the ship. He said the ship's crew appreciated the professionalism of all maintenance providers.

Upon completion of sea trials, Bush will return to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk, Va., to begin the work-up cycle towards deployment and prepare for sustained flight operations at sea.