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USS Carl Vinson Begins Catapult Testing

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080612-04
Release Date: 6/12/2008 9:01:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nina Hughes, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The crew of USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) surpassed another milestone at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard June 3, when the project team began testing the ship's refurbished catapults for the first time in more than three years.

For Sailors stationed aboard the aircraft carrier, the sight of catapults operating on the ship's flight deck signifies that Carl Vinson is close to completing its massive overhaul, and returning to operational status.

"This evolution is a major milestone," Lt. Cmdr. Paul Clark, Air Department V-2 division officer. "All of the catapult gear that was originally removed from the ship during the initial stages of the overhaul has been reworked and reinstalled. We are now in the process of testing that gear to ensure it works properly."

Carl Vinson's current catapult testing involves hundreds of Sailors who are working side-by-side with members of the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding project team. Along with the process of restoring critical flight deck equipment, project team members are testing the electric circuits, the hydraulic system, and firing the catapult in full operational mode.

"We put about 20 months of hard work into this evolution just to be able to properly test the catapults for a couple hours," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 1st Class (AW/SW) David Fredericks. "What we saw during the tests was a successful end result to our consistently high production levels on board."

Clark said the successful integration of members of Carl Vinson's project team, working toward a common goal, has ensured success in the evolution.

"Teamwork plays a big role in everything we do in the overhaul," said Clark. "This evolution involved Sailors from both Air and Engineering departments, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding employees, Carrier Air Facility Support Unit Technicians, and representatives from Naval Air Warfare Center Lakehurst working together as one team to achieve this overwhelming success."

According to Clark, each milestone accomplished on the ship's flight deck is a stepping stone in preparing Carl Vinson for sea trials and returning the aircraft carrier back to the fleet.

"The catapults are the essential pieces of equipment that allow us to launch aircraft and conduct flight operations," said Clark. "So this is a major step towards the ship being operational again."

USS Carl Vinson is currently undergoing its scheduled refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) at Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. The RCOH is an extensive yard period that all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers go through near the mid-point of their 50-year life cycle.

During RCOH Carl Vinson's nuclear fuel will be replenished and the ship's services and infrastructure will be upgraded to make her the most state-of-the-art aircraft carrier in the fleet and prepare for another 25 years or more of service.

For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.

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