So, A Cruiser and a Sub Meet near a Sandbar (CG 56 & SSN 765)
On Oct 13/12, the Improved Los Angeles Class fast attack submarine USS Montpelier surfaced to periscope depth right in front of the the Ticonderoga Class guided missile cruiser USS San Jacinto, during maneuvers off of Florida. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and the submarine’s nuclear reactor wasn’t affected in any way. The ship and the boat each weigh several thousand tons, however, so even a “fender bender” means there’s going to be damage.
The damage in both cases appears to make repairs cost effective, but the US Navy is shrinking to a level where accidents and their long, unplanned fixes can create problems for the fleet as a whole. At this point, though, there’s nothing to be done except get on with it.
Contracts & Key Events
Nov 2/12: CG 56. USS San Jacinto enters dry dock at NS Mayport, FL, and BAE Systems Mayport in Jacksonville, FL receives a $9.7 million not-to-exceed contract modification, under a broader multi-ship, multi-option contract for ship maintenance and upgrades. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year, on Sept 30/13.
Work will be performed in Jacksonville, Fla., and is expected to be completed by February 2013. This contract just gets work started on the obvious problems, and its primary focus will be to repair “the sonar dome and peripheral hull and equipment” damaged during the collision. The Navy and BAE will inspect the ship over the next several days to determine what additional repairs, if any, may be required. The US Navy Southeast Regional Maintenance Center in Jacksonville, FL manages the contract (N40024-10-C-4406). See also US Navy.
Oct 14/12: Pierside. USS Montpelier (SSN 765) docks at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, GA, while USS San Jacinto (CG 56) docks at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, FL. Both vessels will be inspected to determine how much damage they’ve taken.
The submarine looks surprisingly good, but the realities of pressurization and operations at depth will force the US Navy to be really sure that the hull isn’t compromised in some way. US Navy.
Oct 13/12: Crash. The Improved Los Angeles Class submarine USS Montpelier (SSN 765) rises to periscope depth and collides with the Ticonderoga Class cruiser USS San Jacinto (CG 56) at approximately 3:30 p.m. ET, off the coast of northeastern Florida.
The cruiser tried to reverse when the sub was spotted, but couldn’t stop in time. Damage is reported to include “complete depressurization” of the sonar dome in the cruiser’s bow, but there were no injuries, and both ships proceed under their own power. US Navy | ABC News.