This maintenance can include major repair, overhaul, or the complete rebuilding of systems needed for ships to reach their expected service life, and involves complex structural, mechanical, and electrical repairs. The Navy generally schedules these maintenance periods—referred to by the Navy as “availabilities”— every 2 to 3 years for each aircraft carrier and every 4 to 6 years for submarines--
The level of complexity of ship repair, maintenance, and modernization can affect the length of a maintenance period, which can range from 6 months to about 3 years for more complex and involved maintenance. The longer, more complex maintenance periods that are performed are designated in the Navy’s Optimized Fleet Response. The plan is designed to maximize the fleet’s operational availability to combatant commanders while ensuring adequate time for the training of personnel and maintenance of ships.
Navy is working to rebuild its readiness while also growing and modernizing its aging fleet of ships. A critical component of rebuilding Navy readiness is implementing sustainable operational schedules, which hinge on completing maintenance on time.
The Navy continues to face persistent and substantial maintenance delays that affect the majority of its maintenance efforts and hinder its attempts to restore readiness. From fiscal year 2014 to the end of fiscal year 2019, Navy ships have spent over 33,700 more days in maintenance than expected. The Navy was unable to complete scheduled ship maintenance on time for about 75 percent of the maintenance periods conducted during fiscal years 2014 through 2019, with more than half of the delays in fiscal year 2019 exceeding 90 days. When maintenance is not completed on time, fewer ships are available for training or operations, which can hinder readiness.
This Report provides the foundation for future estimates of activities on maintenance-resource requirements, availability, and annual operating costs.
This report is of interest to force planners, maintenance production planners, maintenance policy analysts, system program directors, and logistics and cost analysts.
Planners can use the empirical and analytic results in this report to forecast how workloads and costs may grow in both the near term and long term.
System program directors can use those results to gain an integrated perspective of the end-to-end resource and budget implications for their weapon systems.
Logistics and cost analysts will be interested in how this analysis dealt with the wide range of difficult factors that may affect the measurement of age-related workload growth and in the way in which different patterns of growth are exhibited for different designs for different categories of workloads and material consumption.
Job Sites provide maintenance support as part of the planned maintenance cycle that keeps Navy ships ready and responsive, reflecting Naval Sea Systems Command’s commitment to returning ships to the fleet on-time.
Critical path work can be completed ahead of schedule, including significant preservation efforts of the gas turbine generator fan room and Vertical Launch System.
“The success of this availability was a team effort. All stakeholders were committed to not only completing the work, but also doing so while putting safety at the forefront.”
One of job site key missions is to return readiness to the Fleet Commanders for tasking in a challenging and contested environment. The job site also provides contract management oversight, fleet technical assistance, voyage repair and diving and salvage to Forward Deployed Naval Forces.
“NAVSEA program management of the shipyards plans for the long-term maintenance of aircraft carriers and submarines”
Navy maintenance planning process specifies planning milestones intended to ascertain the ship’s condition, identify the work needed, and plan for its execution. Missing or meeting planning milestones late can contribute to maintenance delays. However, the Navy does not always adhere to its own maintenance planning process due to high operational tempo, scheduling difficulties, or personnel shortages, among other factors, resulting in shipyards discovering the need for additional repairs after maintenance has begun and adding time to the schedule for planning, contracting, or waiting for parts.
This planning focuses on capturing the timing and duration of the maintenance periods, resources needed to perform the maintenance, and the technical requirements for each class of ships. For example, a maintenance plan for a class of ships could identify resource needs for equipment overhauls, propulsion shaft replacement, and corrosion protection.
To identify the requirements for specific ships, NAVSEA coordinates the development of a “baseline availability work package,” which represents the technical requirements needed to ensure a ship reaches its expected service life and meets its operational commitments. NAVSEA planners then use these technical requirements as a basis for developing the detailed work package, which describes the types of maintenance needed and the schedule for completion, among other things
Due to the finite amount of docks available to perform maintenance at the Navy’s four shipyards, any delays in starting and completing maintenance can lead to a “bow wave effect” because delays in completing one maintenance period may impact the start time of the next scheduled maintenance period. This “bow wave effect,” coupled with ongoing maintenance delays, may lead to continued high rates of idle time for submarines
According to NAVSEA officials, shipyard performance can include delays to work progress associated with job- specific material and equipment issues and work stoppages awaiting technical resolution.
NAVSEA officials stated that they revised planning factors for ship maintenance to improve estimated workload requirements and cost factors. NAVSEA officials stated they plan to analyze the results from the revised planning factors annually to monitor whether the changes improve estimates and to make adjustments as needed. According to NAVSEA officials, they will not know whether the changes they are making result in improved estimates until work on ship maintenance periods using the revised planning documents and planning factors is complete—a process that may take several years.
“Shipyard Capacity and Workload Leveling Challenges Require Stakeholder Attention to Ensure Maintenance and Modernization are Performed with Acceptable Time/Efficiency Targets”
Both public and private plans depot maintenance plans specifically focus on three major areas of improvement: dry dock capacity and survivability, facility layout and infrastructures optimization, and capital equipment requirements and modernization. This plan focuses on recovering and modernizing the nation’s current capability and capacity. In this new era of great power competition, a follow-on plan will focus on potential surge requirements resulting from unplanned increases in operational tempo or battle damage.
Maintenance and modernization requirements must be fully funded and efficiently executed to reduce deferred maintenance that adds risk to future fleet readiness. Risks to be addressed during the next 30 years include optimizing maintenance and modernization business processes (e.g., availability planning and execution) and adjusting the industrial base capacity and capability as the fleet grows to 355 ships.
Navy must stabilize the vendor base by forecasting future logistics requirements (material availability) required to maintain fleet reliability and reduce the risk to readiness and survivability, facility layout and infrastructures optimization, and capital equipment requirements and modernization.
Achieving and sustaining future battle force ships will require a continuous investment in the public and private industrial capacity and capability. This includes investments in additional infrastructure (e.g., dry docks and piers), training, and manpower.
The Navy employs a modernization program that captures changing modernization requirements with frequent reviews during the availability planning cycle. Technical maturity and certification status are monitored continuously throughout the maintenance cycle through the Modernization Readiness Assessment process.
Sustaining the future fleet will require changes to both public and private industrial capability and capacity. Current infrastructure will require update and refurbishment to support modern classes of ships and repair. Likewise, additional dry docks will be needed to address the growing fleet size
This includes investments in updating facilities and capital equipment, and as well as providing that workforce training that is both modern and relevant and compensation commensurate with the skill required to repair Navy ships. Finally, we must avoid feast and famine cycles that erode both the repair industrial base and the underlying vendor supply base.
Consistent funding matched to steady demand for work will enable the repair base, public and private, to grow to meet the needs of the 355- ship Navy.
“Shipyards Need to Contribute to Ramped-up Shipbuilding and Repair Effort to Address Capacity if Called to Respond”
A deficit of ship repair capacity and an expected change in the Navy’s needs for large combatants versus smaller ones may force the entire industry to reconsider their roles in construction and maintenance work going forward.
Navy acknowledged that more companies would need to get involved in ship repair, and also that more companies getting involved on the construction side could cause hardship from some of the traditional shipbuilders that have spent years optimizing their yards to build large warships.
“We’ll see what we do with the fire damage to that ship but that’ll be a massive effort to repair if that’s where the decision goes – We’re talking years most likely. Public and private investment is needed” to grow the ship repair industrial base.
Existing repair industrial base is working hard to get more efficient at the work it does, but ultimately that base is too small, especially as the Navy tries to grow its fleet. If large firms showed interest in ship repair means there’s a future to this business model.
The shipbuilding industry in recent years has relied primarily on seven yards owned by just four companies to build large warships – but all indications point to a future fleet that relies less on destroyers and large amphibious ships and more on a large number of small amphibs, small combatants and unmanned surface vessels.
“If the force structure comes up with the need for a portfolio of lesser large ships and more of the small ships, then the larger yards will have to determine how to flex to that. Their infrastructure is set up to build big ships. Are they capable of building/repairing smaller platforms?
There’s a lot of opportunity for smaller yards who already are pretty efficient at building some of those smaller ships. So assuming that the piece of the pie does not grow, there will be a discussion about where the dollars go and where that capability exists.”
1. Providing ships to fleet with defects
2. Optimistic Sustainment assumptions
3. Extended deployments
4. Low crew levels
5. Deferred maintenance
6. Limited dock and workforce capacity
7. Conditions of facilities and equipment
8. Spare Parts and Technical data
9. Personnel Shortages
10. Planning Process