BREMERTON, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) reached the halfway point of its planned incremental availability (PIA) in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (PSNS) Bremerton, Wash., by Aug. 21.
Although the crew and shipyard is on track to finish the availability on time, the upcoming months are critical for a successful PIA.
From May to August, maintenance teams have been put in place to ensure Lincoln reaches its 50-year longevity mark in good condition. Lincoln Sailors and PSNS shipyard workers have been working diligently on the removal of corrosion, rehabilitation of crew living spaces, tiling, painting and cabling.
Topside, the ship's catwalks, safety net and island are undergoing preservation, to include the replacement of numerous bridge windows. Lincoln's Deck Department also refurbished 720 feet of anchor chain.
Completing the preservation three months ahead of schedule helped ensure the ship's rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIB) were overhauled in time for Lincoln's next deployment.
At the half-way point, the tile team has replaced decking in 50 spaces covering almost 7,000 square feet. The paint team has completed 161 jobs, with roughly 160 to go. The cable team has pulled 1,500 feet of dead-end cable.
"Sometimes the paint and tile teams are slowed down due to all the ventilation hoses running in and out of spaces, so the challenge can actually be getting into the spaces. But once the contractors are done, the Sailors get right back to work," said Cmdr. Bradford P. Bittle, Lincoln's chief engineer.
Not all the work on board Lincoln has been repair work. Commander Naval Air Forces (CNAF) has chosen Lincoln to be the test carrier for three prototype ovens. The new ovens will replace the old models in Lincoln's forward galley, aft galley and chief petty officer mess.
"The ovens are designed to cook food faster and make the process easier,' said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph M. Gilmore, Lincoln's principal assistant for services officer.
"We will gather performance data on these new ovens throughout our next deployment cycle and provide feedback to CNAF," said Gilmore.
"The ovens are programmable and will be set up specifically for the fleet 14-day cycle menu which should enhance product quality and decrease any cooking variability," said Gilmore. "They self-clean and are supposed to require less maintenance."
The information gathered from the prototypes during the upcoming months should indicate how much of an improvement the ovens will make in the fleet.
The oven install is just one example of the many upgrades and new features that will give Lincoln a new feel as the crew moves forward in the PIA.
Gilmore said the ship's laundry services are going through a complete grooming process, as well as having their decks repaired and resurfaced. The self-serve laundry areas are also being upgraded with some new equipment and decking.
There will also be an upgrade to the ship's computer system on a new local area network (LAN).
"The system upgrade is designed for repairs to be made easier and for more dependability," said Bittle. "The capacity will stay the same."
Sailors can expect slightly faster internet speeds but shouldn't expect them to be broadband-like, said Bittle.
Several key events are approaching as the crew moves into the second half of the PIA.
Propulsion testing, watchbill validation, LAN upgrades and the completion of the flight deck are all scheduled during September and October.
In October, the habitat team will renovate 30 living spaces in preparation for Sailors to move back on board.
October will be a critical time for top-side production, to include new deckplate covers for the catapults and, with the assistance of civilian contractors, 210,000 square feet of new non-skid coating will be laid.
Bittle said once Lincoln is refurbished and all equipment is operational, sea trials are scheduled to begin next year. Focus will shift from production to qualifications and readiness for sea.
In addition to training and completion of shipyard work, Sailors are attending Navy schools. Since August 2008, Lincoln Sailors have completed more than 2,000 schools with about 300 more scheduled between now and the end of September.
"So far, the crew is doing very well maintaining these efforts while in the yards," said Bittle.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.