USS Albany headed to Newport News shipyard for $25M repair project

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NEWPORT NEWS — After spending more than two decades away from home, the USS Albany submarine will return to its birthplace next month when it is scheduled to arrive to the Newport News shipyard for a four-month maintenance project.

The U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman Corp. late last week signed a $25 million, fixed-price contract to spiff up the 21-year-old Los Angeles class submarine, according to the Navy.

The project, called a drydock continuous maintenance availability, includes maintenance, repair, alterations, testing and other routine upkeep of the 360-foot Albany.

Northrop and the Navy had been in negotiations for several months on the contract, a footnote compared to other yard programs, but significant because most submarine maintenance periods are assigned to naval shipyards like Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth.

Rear Adm. Jim Murdoch, fleet maintenance officer for Fleet Forces Command, said in January that the Albany was likely headed for Newport News because of scheduling issues in Portsmouth.

The last sub repaired in Newport News was the USS Toledo, which spent 27 months in the yard for a $178.5 million maintenance and modernization project that was completed in February 2009.

Although the shipyard has built dozens of submarines in its 125-year history, the Albany is noteworthy because it was the last ship to slide down the incline of greased wooden shipways at Newport News during its launch. Subsequent subs have been wheeled onto a floating dry dock and eased slowly into the water.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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