US embarks on US$21 billion yard modernization effort
Warship Technology: May 2019
The Naval Sea Systems Command’s (NAVSEA’s) Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Plan (SIOP) Programme Office, PMS-555, which was established in June 2018, has begun work to recapitalize and modernize four public nuclear shipyards.
The plan includes upgrades to facilities used to dry dock warships for repairs and replace aging and deteriorating capital equipment. Executing the plan will improve the naval shipyards’ productivity and increase their maintenance throughput in order to support the US Navy readiness.
PMS 555 will work closely with the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) and Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) on the US$21 billion project.
Without major upgrades and reconfiguration, the yards will not be able to meet the US fleet’s future aircraft carrier and submarine depot maintenance and inactivation requirements.
The yards in question have to be ready and able to support the US fleet at a moment’s notice. However, over the past five years, workload at the public shipyards has been increasing. Direct man-days of work assigned to and executed by the shipyards have increased during that time and are
Expected to continue to increase. Indirect man-days have also risen.
Some of these increases have been driven by the introduction of new classes of platforms maintained at the shipyards, more work for aging classes of carriers and submarines, and higher operational tempo.
Increases in programmed work for nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines and execution challenges in that work have driven additional workload. Moreover, as a 2017 report by Rand highlighted, loss of productivity from the ‘greening’ of the workforce – that is, an influx of new and inexperienced, personnel – has slowed productivity and will continue to do so in the near and medium terms.