BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) entered Dry Dock #6 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) on Sept. 8 to begin a scheduled Docked Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) period, which is expected to last through March.
Under sunny skies and warm weather, a small fleet of tugboats moved Lincoln from her mooring at Naval Base Kitsap and turned the 98,000-ton warship on its axis in Sinclair Inlet before lining the ship up with the flooded dry dock.
Once in place, heavy lines were attached to Lincoln's stern, and a combination of capstans and manpower was used to slowly bring the ship backward into position.
The tedious process of aligning the massive vessel then began in earnest as shipyard workers, using precision instruments, worked to ensure that as the drydock was drained, Lincoln remained perfectly centered over the supports which would bear her massive weight.
"We have about two inches of leeway, and we got it within a half an inch, so all in all it went pretty well," said Lt. Holli Klages, a docking officer at PSNS & IMF who supervised the evolution.
According to Cmdr. Skip Huck, Lincoln's chief of engineering and DPIA coordinator, Lincoln is scheduled to undergo a number of refurbishments and improvements during the short time she will spend out of the water.
"The package that we have right now is one of the most challenging that we've had in the shortest time. We're only going to be in the dry dock for 100 days, so it's going to happen extremely fast with very little room for error," said Huck.
Huck added that major projects planned included refurbishment of tanks, work on three of the four catapults, modernization of navigation systems, and updates to the ship's Local Area Network (LAN). Lincoln is also slated to receive installation of the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system, which will improve the ship's close range defensive capabilities.
Some of the contractors involved in the project include Todd Shipyard, Space and Naval Warfare, Voyage Repair Team, and Carrier Air Force Support, among others.
"At the height of the dry-dock period, we expect to have about 1,200 men per day working on board from PSNS & IMF," said Huck.
As with any mission undertaken by Lincoln's crew, safety is one of the command's top priorities. All Lincoln Sailors have been issued hardhats and safety glasses, which are required to be worn at all times when transiting the ship or working on PSNS & IMF. With so much being done at once, Sailors must take extra steps to protect themselves and their shipmates from the inherent dangers of working in an industrial environment.
"Between Lincoln's safety coordinators and the shipyard safety guys, there will be people on the deckplates at all times ensuring that both the ship's and the shipyard's standards of safety are met," said Huck.
According to Huck, Lincoln is expected to leave dry dock in mid-December, but the availability is scheduled to last through the middle of March, when Lincoln will complete a short sea trial before returning to her homeport of Everett, Wash.
For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.