Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier is set to begin its six-month refit at Norfolk Naval Shipyard for upgrades and refurbishment.
The carrier will start its Planned Incremental Availability refit 10 days early on Sept. 17, with the shipyard and carrier already setting up the large amount of equipment necessary for the refit.
The refit work will require at least 3.3 million man hours of labor from dock personnel and the ship's crew, with about half of that taking place at Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia.
Eisenhower Deputy Military Superintendent Cmdr. Rich Hill said that the carrier's crew is working to make the early start date run as smoothly as possible. Most of the mechanics involved recently finished refitting the USS Harry S. Truman, another carrier.
"There's a plan to put two service bridges up underway; as far as we know, no one on either coast has ever done that," Hill said in a news release.
"This is a huge bridge that goes up in the overhead of the hangar bay. The ship arrives, and you can start plugging in the temporary services versus in the past where you would have to first build scaffolding and lay in services."
Eisenhower's last docking cycle was plagued with delays following the carrier's back-to-back deployments, leaving the ship unavailable for 24 months and forcing the USS Harry S. Truman to extend its own deployment.
The Eisenhower turns 40 years old this year and will require upgrades and alterations to most of its systems.
Workers will take its nuclear-powered propulsion systems completely offline and will reroute much of its electrical systems, while making routine refurbishments for compartments, including the crew quarters.
Carriers routinely spend as much or more time in port as at sea due to high maintenance requirements and the high costs of keeping a Carrier Strike Group deployed.
The CVN 69 USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is a Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier. It is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group Ten, which includes three destroyers, a Ticonderoga-class cruiser and a carrier air wing of 70 aircraft. A fast-attack submarine and various support ships are usually attached, as well.