SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The month of August marked the halfway period for Sailors assigned to USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) as the Navy's newest aircraft carrier is currently on schedule to complete its six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA).
From advanced combat systems and electronics installation, to improved berthing compartments and new deck tiles, Ronald Reagan is receiving more than $150 million dollars in renovations and upgrades during the six-month PIA.
Cmdr. Lawrence Hill, Ronald Reagan's chief engineer, said the current upkeep period is a necessary part of an aircraft carrier's life cycle and more than 43,000 man-hours have been spent working on PIA projects during the past three months.
"The ship's force has completed 60 percent of the work and the 'Tiger Teams' have completed 67 percent of their work at the halfway point," said Hill. "The Tiger Teams have spent over 16,000 man-hours redoing berthing compartments, painting, installing new deck tiles and lagging pipes."
Hill also said that Reactor Department personnel have spent an additional 20,000 man-hours working in the propulsion plants. The resurfacing of the flight deck, rework to the catapults and installation of a new aircraft recovery system are also part of the current PIA.
"We took only nine days to transition from deployment to start the PIA maintenance period," said Hill. "Most ships require 30 days to make the transition."
Hill noted the success of contract shipyard workers working alongside Ronald Reagan Sailors in order to perform the maintenance and upgrades according to schedule.
According to Air Traffic Controller 3rd Class (AW) Eric Shugar, who supervised one of the crews assigned to the PIA team, the biggest improvement in berthing areas is the installation of new coffin racks that allow Sailors more storage space, even those who are assigned top racks.
"It's rewarding to see the results of hard work, and seeing something you built being put to good use," said Shugar.
Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Elise Clover, who has been helping to renovate the new berthings, said everyone on the team work hard, even when the hours aren't the greatest.
"It feels pretty good to know that I accomplished something," said Clover. "It's overwhelming at first; you walk into one of these huge berthings and know that you have to build everything. Hopefully everyone will enjoy the new racks and sleep better."
Both Sailors and the Ronald Reagan leadership said they are looking forward to the completion of the PIA period.
"Our focus now is to get ready for the transition to take the ship safely back to sea," said Hill.
Ronald Reagan is currently undergoing a planned incremental availability in her homeport of San Diego following a three-month surge deployment in support of operations in the Western Pacific.
For more news from USS Ronald Reagan, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.