Aug. 16 (UPI) -- The USS Ohio, the Navy's oldest guided missile submarine, completed 27 months of refitting and is ready for duty, the Naval Sea Systems Command announced.
The 560-feet-long submarine completed its $223 million overhaul at Puget Sound, Wash., Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility on Wednesday, in which most of its major onboard systems were upgraded.
The vessel arrived at the facility in April 2017 after a 20-month Pacific deployment before spending over two years in dry dock.
"Days like today are a perfect example of why we do what we do," said Capt. Dianna Wolfson, commander of the maintenance facility. "Ohio plays a vital role in America's defense, and we've returned it to the fleet, ready to do whatever our nation requires of it. We can all take great pride in the work our team did for the ship, and we wish her and the crew well as they rejoin our naval forces on patrol."
The USS Ohio was commissioned in 1981 as the lead boat of its class of ballistic missile submarine fleet. Original plans called for its retirement in 2002, but instead underwent a 36-month conversion to a guided missile platform. It returned to service in 2006, its designation changed from SSBN-276, or ballistic missile submarine, to SSGN-276, or guided missile submarine.
Thursday's ceremonies celebrating the submarine's modernization and return to service included a reunion of many former crew members.
Mike Cloutier, the USS Ohio's strategic missile officer 30 years ago, noted the new methods of data collection, with information now stored on discs.
"Everything has gotten much smaller," he said.