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George Washington Nears Completion of Yard Period

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS051118-06
Release Date: 11/18/2005 1:28:00 PM

By Journalist 3rd Class (SW) Kary Favell, USS George Washington Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) achieved another shipyard availability milestone Nov. 15, meeting the Topside Production Completion Date (TPCD), which was originally scheduled for Nov. 22.

The TPCD marks a point in the availability at which the non-Engineering production work is complete and the ship can shift focus from repairing and modernizing to testing, training, reestablishing proficiency and preparations for returning to the fleet.

“The teamwork between GW Sailors and the shipyard personnel has been seamless,” said Capt. Garry White, GW’s commanding officer. “All of the hard work, communication and coordination have helped us stay ahead of schedule, and I am very proud of everyone involved.”

The work done on the ship included upkeep and refurbishment, but also involved upgrades to systems, including the ship’s self-defense weapons. GW replaced one Close In Weapons System and one Sea Sparrow missile launcher with new Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers. According to Master Chief Fire Controlman (AW/SW) Michael Mahoney, leading chief petty officer for GW’s combat systems department, the installation of the RAM system helps bring GW to the forefront of carrier modernization.

“The RAM launchers greatly heighten GW’s defensive capability,” Mahoney said. “This upgrade keeps us technologically up to date with the fleet and will make us able to perform our mission safer than ever before.”

In addition to upgrades to GW’s weapons systems, improvements were made to the ship’s communications, radar and computer systems. GW installed 1,000 new computers, 16 new servers and a new operating system on the ship’s network.

According to Cmdr. John Fristachi, GW’s assistant air officer (“mini boss”), GW’s entire crew expended more than 600,000 man-hours since January to finish these jobs ahead of schedule.

“Everyone kept an eye on the schedule, knew what needed to be done and communicated,” Fristachi said. “The ship’s crew and the shipyard worked together to meet the captain’s vision, which has always been to meet these deadlines early. That is truly remarkable.”

All four aircraft catapult systems, as well as all arresting gear were refurbished during the availability. Flight deck lighting was replaced, the shooter stations where overhauled, and the jet blast deflectors were resurfaced and revamped. According to Fristachi, GW is only one step away from being ready to recover aircraft.

GW has been undergoing a $400 million modernization at Northrop Grumman Newport News Shipyard since January and will return to the fleet by the end of the year.

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