SAN DIEGO – USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) is half way through a year long modernization period at the BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair facility, where the ship is receiving extensive upgrades to the hull, mechanical systems, electrical systems, combat systems and weapons suites, marking the first time a cruiser has received such extensive upgrade simultaneously.
Cruiser modernization is essential to the U.S. Navy’s 21st century blue water dominance and the Surface Warfare Enterprise concept of producing advanced capability ships at low costs.
Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, Commander, Naval Surface Forces, visited the guided missile cruiser July 31 in order to see the progress of the ship’s revitalization first hand.
“We are making significant strides as an organization to improve the methods we use to increase our war fighting readiness,” Curtis said. “By implementing multiple upgrades to a ship concurrently, we ensure that ships return to the fleet in a higher state of readiness with the increased capability to conduct sustained operations without having to return to the yards for upgrades. In essence, this means more ships ready for tasking at any given moment, ensuring that we have the right tools on hand when we need them to achieve national defense objectives.”
During the tour, Curtis went through several major work areas for to see the progress of the upgrades and speak with personnel that were subject matter experts in each area. He took time to speak with the Sailors and find out how they were dealing with the 12 month availability. He also asked about the morale of the crew and was shown morale-based upgrades including a larger gym with more exercise equipment.
The success of Bunker Hill’s modernization will lead the way in defining the quality and future of the program for the entire Ticonderoga Cruiser Class as well as the modernization of Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers.
“Our motto of ‘Don’t Give Up the Ship’ reminds us of our heritage and that Bunker Hill remains our ship,” said Capt. Pat Piercey, Bunker Hill’s commanding officer. “Our day to day presence and ownership best exemplifies our commitment and reminds everyone on the team that we have not abandoned Bunker Hill.”
As the ship is being upgraded, Bunker Hill’s crew is preparing for their engineering light off assessment and Aegis light off assessment in August, when they will see how the new systems are working. Bunker Hill is scheduled to be finished with their maintenance availability in February 2009.