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Norfolk Naval Shipyard Celebrates Completion of Fully Mission Capable Dry Dock 4 with Ribbon Cutting

24 April 2023

From Janice Hussey

Navy leadership celebrated the first project to be turned back over to the Fleet in support of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) for the modernized Dry Dock 4, April 19.

Navy leadership celebrated the first project to be turned back over to the Fleet in support of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) with a ribbon cutting ceremony at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) for the modernized Dry Dock 4, April 19.

SIOP is a holistic investment plan that when fully executed will deliver required dry dock repairs and upgrades to support current and planned future classes of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, optimize workflow within the shipyards through significant changes to their physical layout, and recapitalize industrial plant equipment with modern technology that will substantially increase productivity and safety.

Rear Adm. Lore Aguayo, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic, along with distinguished guests from Senator Tim Kaine’s office, Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover, Program Executive Officer for Industrial Infrastructure (PEO II) and SIOP, Mr. Mark Edelson, Capt. Lawrence Brandon, acting commander, NNSY, and Cmdr. Kendall Chapman, Resident Officer in Charge of Construction (ROICC) NNSY attended the event and delivered remarks.

“This project is truly precedence setting for NAVFAC, as the first dry dock turned back over to the Fleet in support of SIOP and one of the first executed using a construction oversight organizational construct dedicated to SIOP,” said Aguayo. “This collective team came together and did a fantastic job delivering a modern and fully mission capable dry dock.”

Dry Dock 4 was the first of three dry docks built at NNSY in 1919 during its World War I-era expansion, originally constructed as a soil supported, unreinforced concrete structure. It hosted notable ships including USS Langley (CV 1), the nation's very first aircraft carrier; USS Texas (BB 35), a battleship that fought in both World Wars; the battleship USS Arizona (BB 39) that received its modernization at NNSY a decade prior to its tragic loss in the attack on Pearl Harbor; and the British aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, one of many Allied fleet repairs conducted at NNSY during World War II.

To ensure its operational certification, the critical upgrades provided by the SIOP project to this historic dry dock were required. The project was an enormous undertaking, which involved the placement of over thirty-thousand cubic yards of concrete and requiring 836,000 man hours of construction, was executed as a phased, multi-year operations and maintenance funded repair, valued at $191 million.

“Our naval shipyards are steeped in history, having supported the Navy’s evolution from sail to steam to nuclear power,” Mark Edelson, the newly installed leader of Program Executive Office, Industrial Infrastructure (PEO II). “With the support of Congress and our local communities, we are bringing this vital, centuries-old infrastructure into the modern day.” Edelson added, “Without major upgrades and reconfiguration, the Navy’s four public shipyards cannot repair and upgrade the fleet’s current and future carriers and submarines at the pace required.”

The renovated dry dock includes a new caisson for sealing the facility from the Elizabeth River, replacement of the dock walls and floor, complete restoration of the pumpwell, and upgrading all mechanical and electrical equipment. Additional improvements greatly safeguard against a major flooding event.

The initial project development and contract award was managed utilizing the public works department with support from NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic. However, to ensure proper oversight and execution success while the project was underway, NAVFAC stood up the ROICC for NNSY. The ROICC’s sole purpose is overseeing the execution of SIOP projects, which is estimated to be over $2.4 billion at NNSY.

“The ROICC office, led by Cmdr. Kendall Chapman, provided dedicated government oversight of the completion of this project” said Aguayo. “We intend to apply lessons learned at this and our other public shipyards to the remainder of the SIOP program over the next decade.”

“With any construction project, we’re always learning something,” said Cmdr. Kendall Chapman. “We are committed to applying lessons learned across the enterprise as we deliver this fully capable dry dock back to the Fleet in support of nuclear-powered warships. Our country expects nothing less.”

Partnerships with industry and a shared common mission in support of national security are a model for what NAVFAC strives to achieve around the world as we build the infrastructure the Navy needs for strategic competition needs.

“With our industry partners on our left and right we can deliver the construction the Navy and Nation need, when and where they need it,” said Aguayo. “I am proud of what our combined teams have accomplished.”

NAVFAC is the Naval Shore Facilities, Base Operating Support, and Expeditionary Engineering Systems Command that delivers life-cycle technical and acquisition solutions aligned to Fleet and Marine Corps priorities.

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