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Nimitz Begins Planned Incremental Availability

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040301-03

Release Date: 3/1/2004 9:28:00 AM

By Journalist 3rd Class (SW) Kristine DeHoux, USS Nimitz Public Affairs

NORTH ISLAND, Calif. (NNS) -- USS Nimitz (CVN 68) officially kicked off its planned incremental availability (PIA) Feb. 23 to begin a six-month maintenance period to prepare the ship for its next deployment.

From air conditioning units and electronics, to berthing spaces and self-service laundry, the ship will receive many upgrades, improvements and repairs.

According to Ship's Maintenance Officer Lt. Cmdr. Duncan Preston, upkeep is a normal part of a carrier's life cycle. He said maintenance is a vital investment that Sailors and the Navy must make in order to ensure operational readiness.

During this phase of the ship's lifecycle, a large complement of contractors and shipyard workers will board the ship and become one team with Nimitz's Sailors. Over the next few months, they will work toward a common goal of putting the ship back to sea.

"Each one of the organizations is out there to help Sailors improve the ship," said Preston. "We develop a good working relationship that is very important to the success of our mission."

Besides the quality of life improvements Nimitz is scheduled to receive, the ship will also have an overhaul of some of its mission essential equipment and systems.

Preston stated that one of the most complex tasks to be performed during Nimitz's PIA will be modifying the ship's 10 air conditioning plants to use environmentally friendly refrigerant. The replacement of catwalk grating, the rework of the catapults, the resurfacing of the flight deck and the replacement of service steam piping throughout the ship are also scheduled.

Although maintenance is not new to the carrier, this is Nimitz's first PIA and has required a great deal of preparation. According to Preston, the planning that went into this PIA began almost one year prior to its start.

"I feel very confident with all the planning we did and the concerted focus of all entities, that the ship will complete PIA no later than its end date of Aug. 23," Preston said.

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