Nuclear carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) left Norfolk Naval Shipyard after a much longer than planned maintenance availability that began almost two years ago, the ship yard announced on Friday.
The dry dock maintenance availability — originally planned for 14 months — began in 2013 and was extended following the discovery of additional repair needs once the carrier arrived.
“We experienced the majority of our growth work in the propulsion plant,” said project superintendent Brian Bennett in the statement.
“Our [multi-ship/multi-option (MSMO)] contracting partner had major growth work in the area of underwater hull, freeboard area and ventilation plenums [which are structured compartments where replenishment air enters and exits the ship].”
The unexpected work extension caused the Navy to reshuffle its carrier deployment schedule and swapped the order of planned deployments of Eisenhower with USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75).
Truman will leave later this year to replace USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) after a highly publicized two-month gap in U.S. carrier presence in the Middle East.
Eisenhower will in turn head out in 2016 and be the first carrier to deploy under U.S. Fleet Forces’ Optimized Fleet Response Plan (O-FRP) that would extend carrier strike group (CSG) cycles from 32 to 36 months centered on an eight-month CSG deployment.
The carrier will now undergo a series of sea trials to prove the repairs before Eisenhower and its crew begins workups for the deployment next year.
“Coming out of this availability, as the second oldest carrier in the fleet, we have many lessons learned to pass on to the rest of the Nimitz-class carriers,” Bennett said.