The fleet ballistic missile submarine USS Alaska (SSBN 732) finished its 27.5 month availability at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) on schedule and under cost March 8, marking the first East Coast overhaul of a SSBN.
"We gained technical knowledge from having worked two guided-missile submarine conversions here at Norfolk and from knowledge sharing with Puget Sound Naval Shipyard on West Coast engineering refueling overhauls and we applied that knowledge to our advantage," said Pete Marfio, project superintendent.
Since March 30, 2006, NNSY has been part of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Administration's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and earned "star site" status. As a star site, the shipyard made significant improvements in compensation management, employee incentive programs, ergonomic intervention and employee OSH involvement. The shipyard's Lean Six-Sigma processes also contributed to the decline in workplace hazards as well as the lowest injury/illness rate for a long duration submarine availability in the Navy.
The reactor servicing team finished the refueling 12 days ahead of schedule - beating the previous record by 16 days.
During this work phase, the servicing team credited Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility for sharing lessons learned and building on the "one shipyard" concept.
"It was all about teamwork and commitment," said Bobby Lake, deputy project superintendent. "From cold ops to hot ops, from the boat's arrival to the undocking evolution, we had a plan and executed it."
Lake added that the availability was also guided by daily morning meetings where everyone discussed their goals for the upcoming day, and allowed great interaction between the project team and ship's crew.