US ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island undocks in overhaul milestone

U.S. Navy’s ballistic missile submarine USS Rhode Island achieved an overhaul milestone at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) undocking ahead of schedule.

Entering water on July 17, the Ohio-class submarine set a new record for Engineered Refueling Overhauls (EROs) on the East Coast, beating NNSY’s former record set on USS Alaska (SSBN 732) almost a decade ago.

90 percent of the production work for Rhode Island’s ERO was completed and certified while the boat was in dock.

Rhode Island is now pier-side to finish its major shipyard availability during which the submarine will be refueled and upgraded before returning to support the country’s nuclear deterrence strategy.

The Rhode Island team celebrated another success earlier in the availability, completing the demanding refueling package in just 217 days, beating their goal by three days and setting an NNSY record.

Rhode Island has been at NNSY since December 2015. During its last several months at the shipyard, the boat will be undergoing reactor and weapons systems work.

“Thanks to the Rhode Island team for leading us in this monumental achievement – leading the way in safety, planning, and execution of quality work on time,” said Shipyard Commander Capt. Scott Brown. America’s Shipyard and the Rhode Island crew certainly have our sights set on a successful end game. Thanks for all involved in a safe and successful undocking evolution.”

In addition to the small amount of production work still to be accomplished on the boat, system testing and certification and ship’s force training will be conducted, culminating in sea trials next year.