NORFOLK (NNS) -- USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) transited the Elizabeth River to Norfolk Naval Ship Yard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, Va., July 25.
The transit marked the beginning of the ship's four-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) period.
The availability is a scheduled short-term upgrade and maintenance period for the ship, which completed its first combat deployment in December 2011. It is the first availability for Bush since the ship's commissioning and is scheduled to be completed before the new year.
"Maintenance and modernization are a necessary part of a ship's life in order to ensure we are ready for our nation's tasking," said Cmdr. Brian Lepine, Bush's chief engineer.
NNSY Work Integration Manager Todd Fitzgerald said 84 ship modifications will be completed during the availability in addition to multiple overhauls on existing systems.
Improvements to the ship's Combat Systems computer software, classified and non-classified networks and the Automated Data Processing system will allow the ship to have the most up-to-date equipment and systems for its next combat mission.
Senior Chief Hull Maintenance Technician Christopher Bartley, Bush's Maintenance and Material Management coordinator (3MC), said the ship is scheduled to complete all maintenance and upgrades from July through September. During October and November, the ship will be in the testing phase where most of the production is scheduled to stop and the troubleshooting for each upgraded module will begin.
Fitzgerald said the goal of the availability is to not only accomplish the maintenance in the scheduled time frame, but more importantly, to do it safely.
"We need to make sure we keep the safety of the ship, crew and equipment as a main priority so everybody can go home every day," said Fitzgerald.
Since January 2012, USS George H.W. Bush has been conducting carrier qualifications and independent steaming exercises. Bush is the recipient of the Battenberg cup, "Jig Dog" Ramage, CNAL Battle "E", USFF Retention Excellence Award and the Admiral Flatley award.
For more news from USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn77/.