On July 25th USS RUSSELL berth shifted along the San Diego waterfront from Naval Base San Diego to Continental Marine San Diego to begin an extensive shipyard availability period. During this availability RUSSELL Sailors and a variety of contractors will complete repairs to the hull and both interior and exterior systems. These improvements will ensure that RUSSELL is ready to continue completing operations at home and abroad. Primary systems and areas of the ship that will be worked on include the updating of weapons and communications systems, the ship’s flight deck and exterior decking, engineering equipment upgrades, and interior space preservation and renewal.
During this availability, RUSSELL will see upgrades to numerous weapons and communications systems including the MK 38 25mm gun and upgrade of their communications circuits with the latest version of Navy Multiband Terminal, or NMT. The upgrade to the 25mm will be fired remotely and include an Electronic Optical Sight and Laser Range-Finder to increase accuracy and decrease risk to personnel during a potential surface engagement. In addition to the upgrade to the 25mm gun, communications will be improved with the aforementioned upgrade to NMT. According to Information Systems Technician Second Class Jonathan Sinclair who is helping to coordinate the installation, “The upgrade to NMT will increase the security of RUSSELL’s off ship communications and resistance to jamming from other units.” Overall, the NMT upgrade will allow the ship to stay in communication to receive operational tasking for greater periods of time.
RUSSELL’s flight deck and many of the weather decks will also see considerable refurbishment during the yard period. The ship’s flight deck will require refurbishment as a result of landing multiple helicopters each week during operations both off the San Diego coast and while overseas. The ship’s forecastle will also see significant preservation during the yard period. This portion of the ship which lies forward of the superstructure is subject to constant environmental exposure as RUSSELL maneuvers at high speeds in sometimes considerable sea states.
Engineering systems will also be upgraded during the yard period, including the removal of both high pressure air compressors and upgrades of air conditioners. The upgrades to the HPAC system will increase reliability and functionality. Additionally, the new air conditioning units will increase crew comfort and more efficiently cool combat systems equipment, helping to conserve fuel.
Machinist Mate Second Class Clifford Antwi works with contractors on a daily basis, “We work with the contactors to ensure that the work is completed in a timely fashion, combining our knowledge of the ship and systems with their skills like welding and rigging.”
As the yard period continues, RUSSELL Sailors will work together and with their contractor counterparts to ensure that RUSSELL is upgraded and repaired. This will allow her and her crew to return to sea and more effectively execute any tasking that they are assigned, at home or abroad.