Navy to Award Long-Delayed Overhaul Contract for USS Boise in 2024

November 7, 2023 6:54 PM
An undated photo of USS Bosie (SSN-764). US Navy Photo

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Navy will issue an award to overhaul an attack submarine that has sat idle for years next year, a service official said Tuesday.

USS Boise (SSN-764) has sat idle at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding since 2020 after losing its dive certificate in 2017 due to a backlog at the public shipyards.

“We are officially going to award, contract, to start the [engineering overhaul] officially in early calendar year 24,” Rear Adm. Jonathan Rucker, the program executive officer for attack submarines, said at the annual Naval Submarine League symposium,

“And we’ve worked with Newport News to lay out a contract schedule and a plan that gets us that boat back at the right time to get the right operational availability … and multiple deployments in support of what Adm. Houston needs,” Rucker added, referring to Naval Submarine Forces commander Vice Adm. Bill Houston.

The impending contract award in 2024 comes as Boise‘s overhaul has been delayed nearly a decade due to logjams at the public shipyards. Due to aircraft carriers and ballistic-missile submarines getting priority at the public yards, the attack submarines have faced years of maintenance delays.

After Boise lost its dive certification in 2017, the Navy opted to contract a private yard to perform the maintenance overhaul. The Los Angeles-class attack submarine first entered Newport News in 2020, but has been waiting for its engineering overhaul for more than three years.

Rucker said the Navy is cutting down on the days of maintenance delays for the attack boats, but still has a ways to go.

“Since 2019, for attack submarines, we’ve decreased the days of maintenance delays by over 30 percent. Not where we need to be yet, but we’re headed in the right direction,” he said.

At last year’s conference, Rucker said the service had averaged 1,500 to 1,600 days of maintenance delays in Fiscal Year 2019, but brought that number down to about 1,100 days for FY 2022. At the time, Rucker said the service wants that number to decrease to 700 days by FY 2026.

Available material for when the Navy starts maintenance availabilities on attack submarines remains the same as it was last year: 40 to 50 percent. But with help from lawmakers and across the supply chain, the Navy is still working toward a goal of 90 percent by 2026.

“We’ve improved on time performance, if you look across planning and modernization, from 18 months ago when I took the job, we were less than 50 percent for those two things. Today we’re at 92 and 96 percent,” he said.

The Navy is still trying to increase the percentage of operationally available attack submarines, but is currently at about 64 to 67 percent, Rucker said.

Naval Sea Systems Command officials have noted the service’s difficulty in getting attack submarines out of maintenance on time.

“Over the last ten years, 20 to 30 percent [came] out on time,” former NAVSEA command chief Vice Adm. Bill Galinis said last year.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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