NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) successfully completed Sea Trials Oct. 20, marking another milestone in the warship's long and storied career.
Following her four-year, mid-life Refueling Complex Overhaul (RCOH) and four-month Post Shakedown Availability (PSA), Ike is now operational and beginning the journey toward becoming surge ready.
"The ship is in much better material condition than it was four months ago," said Capt. Dan Cloyd, Ike's commanding officer.
"The crew has performed magnificently. To be able to get through RCOH successfully and then to taste the operational side earlier this year and then go back to a shipyard environment, and to come through it with such esprit de corps is inspiring," Cloyd added.
PSA, supervised by Norfolk Naval Shipyard, afforded Ike's crew the opportunity to finish up any work remaining from RCOH.
"The Post Shakedown Availability is all about completing work packages that result from the Refueling Complex Overhaul and this spring's Sea Trials," said Cloyd.
"Norfolk Naval Shipyard was essentially the Navy's supervising authority," said Lt. Cmdr. Brian Lepine, Ike's maintenance manager. "Their function was to oversee the 85 contractors, Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard workers, and the Naval Shipyard."
"One of the success stories out of this is the fact that we accomplished in four months what normally would take six months, and we also performed this work pierside at Naval Station Norfolk rather than in a shipyard," Lepine added.
By starting a couple of larger projects ahead of the actual start of the PSA/SRA and bringing workers aboard Ike while underway in the Spring, Ike was able to reduce the availability to four months.
Eisenhower's crew enhanced many of the communication systems aboard. Improvements were made to the ship's radio systems, telephone systems and combat systems suites. Ike was also able to establish the Integrated Communications Advanced Network (ICAN), making her one of only three aircraft carriers in the fleet to have ICAN.
"ICAN is an integrated backbone system," said Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kevin Richardson, Ike's ICAN work center supervisor. "It distributes all navigation, communication, and machinery controls. It is a 3,000-piece network that controls everything from deep fat fryers in the galley to list control," Richardson added.
Now that Ike has successfully completed PSA, she has commenced at-sea operations, working toward becoming surge ready. Her next major milestone will be Flight Deck Certification. Those evolutions, along with on-loading ammunition and preparing for the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV), will allow Ike to increase its combat readiness.
Once Ike is combat ready, she will be primed to become surge ready and answer any call that may result from the Navy's Fleet Response Plan, which requires surge ready aircraft carriers and their strike groups to deploy whenever and wherever the nation needs them.
"We have to complete the Tailored Ship's Training Availability and Final Evaluation Period and the Composite Training Unit Exercise successfully; at that point we will become surge ready and be able to deploy worldwide," Cloyd said.
During Sea Trials, the carrier engaged in high-speed turns and various other tests. As the crew took their ship out to sea, it was proven that Ike can withstand the rigors of at-sea operations, following a pierside shipyard availability period.
Sea Trials was a culmination of hard work, determination, and vigilance by the Ike team. Though the crew that brought Ike into Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard in 2001 has turned over, their spirit has remained steadfast.
"For the last four to five years, the crew and the shipyard and the entire Navy maintenance community have poured a lot into the ship. It's time now to start realizing the results of that investment," said Cloyd.
For related news, visit the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.