WASHINGTON (NNS) -- USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) successfully completed sea trials May 21 and became the Navy's first dock landing ship to complete its comprehensive midlife modernization availability.
The work began in July 2008 at Metro Machine Corp. in Norfolk, Va., and included major upgrades to the ship's control system, local area network and machinery control system, propulsion systems, HVAC, as well as replacement of the ship's boilers and evaporators with an all-electric services system.
"A thorough midlife modernization is critical to keep these ships viable for the fleet for years to come," said Capt. Michael Graham, the program manager for the Navy's mine warfare, amphibious and auxiliary ships life cycle support office.
"The maintenance and modernization availability went extremely well, and we are very pleased with the ship's performance during sea trials. Considering this is the first LSD 41/49 midlife availability, the complexity of her modernization/midlife package, and the performance during trials, this is truly a major accomplishment for the entire amphibious community."
All 12 ships of the LSD 41 and LSD 49 classes are scheduled to undergo the midlife upgrade over the next five years to ensure they remain capable assets and can meet mission requirements through 2038. Two ships will be upgraded each year through 2013, and the last ship will be modernized in 2014. Ships homeported on the East Coast will undergo upgrades at Metro Machine Corp., and ships based on the West Coast will receive upgrades at General Dynamics National Steel and Shipbuilding Company in San Diego.
Major elements of the upgrade package include diesel engine improvements, fuel and maintenance savings systems upgrades to achieve greater fuel economy, advanced engineering control systems, increased air conditioning/chill water capacity, and replacement of air compressors. The ships also replaced steam systems with all-electric functionality that will significantly decrease maintenance and support of legacy steam systems.
Naval Sea Systems Command's Surface Warfare directorate (SEA 21) manages the complete life cycle support for all non-nuclear surface ships and is the principal interface with the Surface Warfare Enterprise. The directorate is responsible for the maintenance and modernization of non-nuclear surface ships currently operating in the fleet. Through planned modernization and upgrade programs, SEA 21 will equip today's surface ships with the latest technologies and systems to keep them in the fleet though their service lives. Additionally, SEA 21 oversees the ship inactivation process, including transfers or sales to friendly foreign navies, inactivation and or disposal.
For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.