By Sean Kirkpatrick – March 6, 2020
The US Navy has paid $170.7 million in contracts to BAE Systems for the maintenance and repair of two Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers in San Diego. The contracts will see the San Diego shipyard dry-dock both the USS Decatur and the USS Stethem in October of 2020. Dry-docking two ships at once will be a first for BAE Systems and will showcase the ability of the team located at the company’s first dry-dock in San Diego. Contracts for both ships include options that could push the contract value to $185 million.
The Pride of California
Dubbed the “Pride of California,” the 950-foot dry-dock is the biggest in the state and has opened up new options for BAE. Previously, two ships could not be serviced at once at the location and vessels had to make use of the dry-dock next door which is run by General Dynamics.
With the new capabilities of the Pride of California, the two ships will be positioned end to end and will be lifted together. The Pride of California has a lifting capacity of 55,000 tons, which makes it the largest floating dry-dock in the state. The destroyers weigh around 9,000 tons each and will be ready for action again after repair and testing in April 2020.
Importantly, the Pride of California is also an environmentally responsible facility. Its wing wall cranes are entirely run on electricity and it has a number of other features including a 250,000-gallon storm water collection system, LED lighting throughout, non-hazardous paint and a saltwater fire protection system.
The permits needed for all of these designs were difficult to come by and required clearance from the Port of San Diego as well as state and federal agencies in California. Ultimately, BAE systems saw these alterations as entirely important, as the end result is a healthy local environment for animals and wildlife.
A Special Capability
David M. Thomas Jr, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair, remarked that the ability of the dock to simultaneously repair two DDG’s was a new and special capability. He said that the repairs carried out on the Pride of California are “necessary to meet surface combatant demands and modernization requirements.” He also said: “Beyond the remarkable nature of this tandem docking, it will be business as usual for our shipyard team.”
Modernization and Repairs
The USS Stethem is the 13th ship of the Arleigh Burke class. The ship was built in Pascagoula, Mississippi in 1993 and was commissioned in 1995, being assigned to the Destroyer Squadron 15. The ship was named after Robert Stethem, a Navy sailor who was killed by terrorists onboard TWA 847 in 1985.
The BAE Systems team will carry out hull, engineering and mechanical repairs aboard the ship. Once the ship is back in the water, the Stethem’s Extended Docking Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA) is predicted to be finalized by October 2020.
The USS Decatur is the 23rd ship from the Arleigh Burke class. Taking the name of the 19th Century Naval hero Stephen Decatur Jr., the ship was commissioned in 1998. The 505-foot-long Decatur will benefit from the same repairs carried out on the Stethem. Following undocking, the Decatur’s EDSRA will continue until October 2020.
Sean Kirkpatrick is the Southwest Regional Manager for Ameri-Force. Sean has been a member of the Ameri-Force team since 2016.