USS John F. Kennedy
(CV 67) reached a benchmark in its maintenance project Aug. 4, as the carrier's combat systems department resurrected Kennedy's pulse. For the first time in eight months, radars came to life in front of a cheering crowd of contractors and Sailors. The team worked hand-in-hand during Kennedy's extended selected restricted availability (ESRA) to ensure all systems were go.
"This light-off represents the culmination of work by ship's force and contractor personnel that included numerous new installations, as well as the overhaul or refurbishment of virtually every piece of combat systems equipment aboard 'Big John,'" said Cmdr
. Rich Soucie, combat systems officer
According to Lt. j.g. Steven James of combat systems, the ESRA installations and refurbishments make Kennedy one of the most technologically advanced aircraft carriers in the fleet.
"This places us at the cutting edge of carrier improvements in the arena," said James. "The repairs make us more capable in communications and surveillance."
Some of the system's upgrades include computer network defense-intrusion detection system, used to detect unauthorized personnel attempting to access shipboard computer systems; an integrated bridge, which facilitates digital navigation and integrates a new commercial radar, a voyage management computer and an electronic charting and display information system; and the Rolling Airframe Missile, or RAM, which adds new capabilities to the ship's self defense suite. Kennedy is the first east coast aircraft carrier to receive the RAM upgrade.
Commanding Officer Capt. Ronald H. Henderson Jr. said the light-off puts "Big John" one step closer to wrapping up maintenance so "we can get back where we belong - underway.
"The important thing right now is that, in the end, JFK will be a better carrier - for Jacksonville, the Navy and the nation - and ready to serve where the president directs," Henderson said.
Kennedy's availability is the most extensive one ever conducted outside of a naval shipyard promoting the Navy's "One Shipyard" concept.
(Source: NAVSEA Newswire)