Newport News wins $352 million contract for more work on USS Boise
By DAVE RESS | Daily Press | Published: September 22, 2020
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Tribune News Service) — Newport News Shipbuilding won a $351.8 million modification to its existing contract for an engineering overhaul for the USS Boise.
The cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification includes continued advanced planning and overhaul work on the Los Angeles-class submarine, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday. It includes options that could bring the award’s total value to $355 million.
Work on the Boise is expected to be completed by May 2023.
Newport News won the original $59.7 million contract for planning the overhaul in 2017. Boise arrived at the yard in 2018 and moved into a dry dock earlier this year.
With the move into dry dock, Vice Adm. Tom Moore, then-commander of the Naval Sea Systems Command, said the contract marked a new era in the Navy’s efforts to improve on-time completion of maintenance work on its submarines.
Delays in submarine and aircraft carrier overhauls — generally slated for the Navy’s own shipyards — have drawn sharp criticism from the U.S. Government Accountability Office for the past few years.
In August, the GAO found 38 of the 51 maintenance projects for carriers and submarines at the nation’s four Naval shipyards were completed late between 2015 and 2019 — an average of 113 days for carriers and 225 for submarines.
Boise’s overhaul had been scheduled at Norfolk Naval Shipyard with its return from service with the 6th fleet in 2015, but that yard had too much other work already on its plate. The submarine spent much the time since at a pier in Naval Station Norfolk.
It came to Newport News later than the Navy had hoped, because the yard was already working on the overhaul of two other carriers — part of the Navy’s move to shift some of that work to private yards.
For Newport News, getting back into submarine overhaul work meant returning to a line of business it hadn’t been involved with since 2009.
Among the key changes that have come with the Boise work, the Navy has shared its Submarine Maintenance Engineering, Planning and Procurement (SUBMEPP) system, as well as the document it uses in planning overhauls, including schedules that show by each skilled trade what resources are needed for a typical project, Moore told the U.S. Naval Institute’s news service earlier this year.
The Navy hadn’t done that with the two other submarines the Newport News yard was overhauling when it won the Boise contract. Those are USS Helena, set for completion later this year and USS Columbus, which is to be finished in 2022.
“I’m fully confident they can get the work done,” Moore told the Naval Institute. “They’re trying to grow that part of the business, and ... it gives us some surge capacity at the naval shipyards if we need it.”
He said the Navy would like to always have the Newport News yard working on planning one submarine overhaul and one overhaul actually underway at all times, but never more than one in other phase.
The Newport News yard built Boise, laying its keel in 1988 and delivering it to the Navy in September 1992.