Sunday, December 12, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt Receives Propeller, Shaft Upgrades

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Austin Rooney, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The installation of four new 32-ton propellers on USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) (TR) was completed Dec.6 at Northrop Grumman Newport News, Va., Shipbuilding.

Northrop Grumman workers mounted the "screws," or propellers, on each of the ship's four shafts.

The ship's nuclear-powered main engines deliver propulsion power through the shafts to the propellers, which move the ship through the water at speeds up to 30 plus knots.

TR's shafting and propellers were removed as part of the ship's mid-life refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) after it first pulled into dry dock in August 2009. The installation marks an achievement in work outside the ship's hull, preparing the ship for flooding the dry dock and movement to Pier 3 in 2011.

"It's great to witness team Theodore Roosevelt achieving this important milestone in returning a renewed, refueled and refurbished Theodore Roosevelt to the fleet," said TR's Executive Officer Capt. Douglas Verissimo. "Reinstalling the propellers aboard this ship is an exciting feat of engineering, teamwork and skill, and it represents a significant achievement as we work together to get the ship back in the water again where she belongs."

At nearly 21 feet in diameter, each propeller weighs approximately 65,000 pounds. Mark Creamer, Northrop Grumman Newport News construction superintendent for propulsion said the shipyard is not just re-installing the same propellers and shafts the ship began the RCOH with; the shafts have been completely overhauled and are now using a new coating system, and the propellers are a new design and will reduce wear and erosion.

"This is a very significant accomplishment in the docking of this complex project," said Creamer. "It is a clear example that this ship is coming to life and that the team has been working very hard in the overhaul process to get the ship to this point."

Creamer said the process of installing the propellers and shafts back onto the ship can be dangerous and requires a high level of skill and experience from those involved.

"We are doing a great job with the installation," said Creamer. "Working with no injuries, no accidents and scheduled to complete on time. It is impressive to watch this huge task come together and bring the Roosevelt back to life."

The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

During RCOH, TR's fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepared for another 25 years or more of service.