By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman
Tanner Lange, USS George Washington Public Affairs
USS George Washington (GW) (CVN 73) left Norfolk Naval Shipyard on Aug. 27 and headed for sea trials.
Sea trials, which are expected to be completed later this week, are traditionally the final hurdle for a shipyard maintenance availability and are designed to assess GW’s material readiness and ability to rejoin the fleet as a fully operational unit.
Once complete, GW will return to the U.S. 2nd Fleet to commence final operational preparations to relieve USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) as the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Japan in 2008. The $300 million, 11-month Planned Incremental Availability plus Docking is expected to be completed on time and within budget.
”Sea trials are really the culmination of a lot of hard work. Norfolk Naval Shipyard and GW Sailors really came together as a team to produce an outstanding availability,”
said GW Commanding Officer, Capt. Dave Dykhoff.
The availability was specifically designed to prepare the ship to become the Navy’s forward deployed aircraft carrier with numerous system upgrades. One specific accomplishment included the removal and replacement of the entire main mast and all associated radar and combat systems.
“The capstone mast upgrade improves the ship’s defensive capabilities and the reliability of associated systems,” said Combat Systems Officer, Cmdr. Mark Loose.
While the scheduled trials are expected to tax every Sailor and system on the ship to ensure full capability, the transition from shipyard to sea is a welcome one.
“Everyone involved is extremely proud to clear this hurdle and get these tests underway,” said Dykhoff. “Our transition to Japan is very important to our nation’s security, and we have worked very hard to keep that transition on track.”