As USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) enters its fourth month of a ship's restricted availability (SRA) period April 6, Sailors, Ship's Repair Facility (SRF) workers, and Japanese contractors work together to ensure the Navy's oldest active-duty warship remains in fighting shape.
Maintenance and repairs being completed aboard Kitty Hawk affect almost every space and compartment on the ship.
“As Kitty Hawk approaches her 45th birthday, I believe the team we have here is key to keeping Kitty Hawk battle ready. I know she’s as combat ready today as any other ship in the fleet thanks to the work done by the 2,000 Japanese contractors, SRF workers and the ship’s crew,” said Capt. Ed McNamee, Kitty Hawk’s commanding officer
“We’re doing major propulsion plant work, with significant work being done in [Main Machinery Room No. 4],” said Lt. Cmdr. Gil Mucke, Kitty Hawk’s SRA coordinator. “We’re also doing a complete upgrade of our [local area network] and replacing the hotel steam piping in zones 2, 3 and 4.”
According to Mucke, all of these repairs are going according to schedule, thanks to the efforts of both ship’s force personnel and civilian contractors.
“We have 2,700 jobs scheduled for this SRA, and we have 71 percent of them complete,” Mucke said. “Of the 250,000 man-hours of work scheduled, over 200,000 have been completed.”
Also being upgraded are the ship’s berthing compartments and heads, both of which are being worked on by a combination of Kitty Hawk Sailors and civilian contractors, said Lt. Cmdr. Keith Patton, Kitty Hawk’s SRA habitability coordinator.
“We’re rehabbing 7 heads and 16 berthings,” said Patton. “The berthings are almost complete, and the heads are on schedule.”
Due to the replacement of steam piping aboard Kitty Hawk, hot water and heat have been unavailable in many areas, leaving heads and berthings unusable in those parts of the ship, said Patton. As a result, large numbers of Kitty Hawk Sailors have moved off of the ship and onto berthing barges, or in some cases into the barracks and Transient Personnel Unit (TPU) located on the Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka installation.
“In the barracks, TPU and barge, all of our Sailors have a pretty good quality of life,” he said.
Also experiencing many upgrades during SRA is Kitty Hawk’s engineering department, according to Lt. Stephen Erickson, Kitty Hawk’s maintenance management officer.
“This is the largest boiler work package we’ve done in the last three years,” he said. “We’re getting work done on the boiler air casing, as well as upgrading the lighting and ventilation in [Main Machinery Room No. 3].”
Kitty Hawk has eight main boilers, which provide power for the ship’s propulsion and electrical systems. During the last underway period, Kitty Hawk’s engineers determined that two of the boilers had damaged or degraded internal pipes and would need to be replaced during the SRA.
“We are doing super-heater tube, generating bank tube and boiler refractory replacements,” he said. “They have all gone according to plan so far.”
These replacements, though difficult to complete, will allow for the safer operation of the boilers and help keep Kitty Hawk operationally ready. This is also true of many of the other upgrades or repairs Kitty Hawk is receiving during the SRA, said Mucke.
“When it’s over, our LAN will be improved, and our heads and berthings will have been rehabbed,” Mucke said. “Kitty Hawk will come out of SRA better than it was when it went in.”
“Things have really come together. As I walk around the ship, it’s truly amazing to see the amount of work our team has accomplished in just a few short months,” said McNamee. “As Kitty Hawk turns 45 on April 29, our Japanese contractors, SRF, and the ship’s crew really have something to be proud of as Kitty Hawk remains in great warfighting shape as America’s only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier.”
The Kitty Hawk Strike Group is the largest carrier strike group
in the Navy and is composed of the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, the guided-missile cruisers
USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Cowpens (CG 63), and Destroyer Squadron 15.
By Journalist 2nd Class Christopher Koons, USS Kitty Hawk Public Affairs