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ARDM Auxiliary Repair Drydock

Auxiliary Repair Drydock WATERFORD (ARD-5) and WEST MILTON (ARD-7) were capable of providing berthing, messing and laundry services to her crew and the tended unit. WATERFORD could force flood the basin by pumping water with her four main dock pumps from the river to the basin. Each pump was capable of pumping 15,000 gallons of water per minute. It still took 45 minutes to an hour to submerge the dock to the required drafts. The submarines were roughly centered over the build by the handling lines and then accurately centered by the use of cables and grip hoists. The water was then pumped out of the dock until the submarine was approximately one foot above the build. Divers were utilized to ensure the submarine was centered over the build and that all the hull openings were clear of any obstructions. The submarine was then "landed" on the centerline blocks and the sidehauls were moved into the sides of the submarine. Services such as electrical power, phones and sewage hoses were then passed over to the submarine.

Nearly six decades of supporting the US Navy's submarine force ended in early 1997 for the Navy's oldest and narrowest floating drydock, Waterford (ARD 5). Its last customer, the nuclear powered research submarine NR-1, docked in February 1997. Waterford undocked NR-1 in late March 1997. Waterford, an Auxiliary Repair, Class II, Floating Drydock, was launched March 12, 1942, at Alameda, Calif., and commissioned USS ARD 5 on July 3, 1942. The drydock was assigned to the Pacific fleet to tend submarines and destroyers. After brief assignments in San Francisco and Pearl Harbor, Waterford anchored at Espiritu, New Hebrides, Feb. 7, 1943. It returned to Pearl Harbor in 1944 and in 1946 moved to its present home at Groton, CT. The drydock lost the use of the USS designation when it was decommissioned but kept in service in 1946. USS ARD-5 arrived at the Submarine Base New London, CT on 26 February 1946. Originally, she was assigned to New London Group Sixteenth Fleet which was comprised of submarines in reserve commission. USS ARD-5's status was officially changed on 30 August 1946 to "Out of Commission/In Service". That status was retained until her inactivation.

OAK RIDGE (ARDM-1) was the US Navy's first Medium Auxiliary Repair Dry Dock. Unlike WATERFORD (ARD-5) , Oak Ridge can accommodate Los Angeles-class attack submarines. These special vessels provide logistic dry-docking support to Atlantic Fleet submarines. Formerly serving as the ARD-19, OAK RIDGE was originally constructed by the Pacific Bridge Company, Alameda, California, in 1943-44 with a length of 488 feet. In September 1962, ARD-19 was converted to the first mobile single unit dock capable of docking the relatively new, and significantly larger, Fleet Ballistic Missle Submarines. Her length was extended to 531 feet and her lifting capacity was increased to 7,961 tons. On 4 June, 1964, the refurbished OAK RIDGE, (ARDM-1), was "underway" again, this time to her new homeport in Rota, Spain. She remained at Rota for exactly fifteen years, providing services to the forward deployed SSBN's. On 4 June, 1979, OAK RIDGE was taken under tow as the last Squadron Sixteen unit to leave the Rota Naval Base. OAK RIDGE was eventually towed to King's Bay, Georgia, rejoining Submarine Squadron Sixteen to continue service to the FBM fleet. The Oak Ridge arrived at its new home port of Groton, CT on 19 May 1997. It was previously assigned to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, GA. Oak Ridge replaced the Auxiliary Repair Dry Dock Waterford (ARD 5) which deactivated in September 1997.

Medium Auxiliary Repair Drydock ARDM 2 USS Alamogordo was sold to Ecuador on 29 November 1999.

The ARDM-4 Class Auxiliary Repair Drydock, Medium (Non-Self-Propelled) is a shore-dependent, non-militarized, industrial-type floating dry-dock of one-piece (non-modular) steel construction. Its primary mission is to furnish dry-docking facilities at an established base for deep draft submarines (SSN-688, SSBN-640 and earlier classes) and for smaller surface ships. It is capable of lifting 7,800 or 8,400 tons, it does not provide electric, heat or CHT support. It contains several shops to provide drydock service.

The San Diego based Arco (ARDM-5) floating dry dock is used to raise submarines and ships out of the water for maintenance. This process of dry-docking naval vessels requires precise attention to detail and long hours. Before maintenance work can be performed on a craft however, it must first be docked on the Arco and taken out of the water. By submerging Arco through the use of flooded ballast tanks, a vessel can sail between its 61-foot high walls. The vessel is then secured with lines, after which divers ensure the vessel is alined properly to sit on standing blocks on Arco's deck. Once the vessel is in place, it is lifted from the ocean by emptying Arco's ballasting tanks. The entire dry-docking evolution takes approximately 16 hours. While primarily used to dry-dock submarines, the 2,941,176-cubic foot Arco can also accommodate any seagoing craft that displaces 7,800 long tons or less.



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