Overhaul prepares Pakistani frigate for sea

By Edward Lundquist at January 08, 2011 20:35
Filed Under: Navy insights

Preparing warships for new careers

Overhaul prepares Pakistani frigate for sea

By Capt. Edward Lundquist, USN (Ret.)



When a U.S. Navy ship leaves the fleet upon decommissioning, it often finds a new career with allied navies. 

The ex-USS McInerney (FFG 8)—the second ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry class to be commissioned and more than 30 years old—is now the PNS Alamgir in the Pakistani Navy.

VSE Corporation is the prime contractor, with the work performed at BAE Systems Southeast Division (formerly Atlantic Marine Florida) in Jacksonville, Florida.  “She’ll get a substantial overhaul to her systems.  She has a considerable amount of future service life ahead of her,” says Bob Gronenberg, the deputy program manager for ship transfers for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, DC, the executing agency of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) ship transfers. 

Necessary repairs and upgrades are accomplished in the U.S.  In fact the law requires that the turnover must be conducted in the U.S, and the receiving country must pay all costs, but foreign military aid funds can be applied to FMS transfers. 

VSE is often called upon to provide foreign crew support, including messing and berthing until the ship is ready for crew move aboard and the crew is self sustaining.  “VSE also manages efficient and responsive post-transfer, follow-on technical support and logistics chains that supply technical assistance and material to recipients of former USN ships to sustain those ships and systems,” says Karl Dinkler, vice president for the GLOBAL Division of VSE’s International Group.  “We stay engaged.  The transfer is just the first piece.”

The VSE Ship Transfer Assistance Team (STAT) will provide tailored training to prepare the foreign crew to operate their ship.  “This training can consist of classroom sessions, on-the-job training and culminates in a light off assessment and at sea exercises modeled after those employed by the US Navy’s Afloat Training Group,” says Dinkler.

With the commissioning of Alamgir on Aug 31, 2010, Pakistan becomes ninth navy to operate Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates, joining Bahrain, Egypt, Poland, Turkey, Australia, Spain, Taiwan and the U.S. Navy.

Dinkler says that of the 43 ships that VSE has transferred since 1995, all but one (which was transferred as a logistics asset) is still in service.

Dave Wright leads the VSE prime contractor team in Jacksonville, which oversees logistics, industrial work and training.  “We qualify the crew in firefighting and damage control, PMS and 3-M, and we train to U.S. Navy PQS standards,” he says.

Although VSE has conducted numerous transfers, Wright says the process is dynamic, and evolving.  “We have a diverse customer base. Each foreign navy has their desires, needs and wants.  The basic process is the same, but the methodology has evolved.  We’ve transferred FFGs before, so we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel with this one.  A lot of the work done for one ship is the same as the next.”

The extent of the overhaul is dependent on the initial inspection, says Wright. 

“There are always surprises,” he says.  “We’re prepared for that.”

Work was extensive on most equipment, VSE’s Ken Boone says.  All four diesels were removed from the ship and received a complete overhaul.  AC units and reefers were overhauled.  A completely new, state of the art, navigation suite was installed.  The SQS-56 sonar was completely overhauled, including changing to a composite dome.  The bridge was completely overhauled and upgraded.  A VIP cabin was designed and installed.  All shafting was removed and renovated, the controllable pitch propeller system overhauled.  Fuel oil tanks and voids were cleaned, inspected, repaired and painted.  All sea valves were removed and either repaired or replaced.”

“Virtually every pump was opened and inspected and 80 percent being overhauled as a result of those inspections.  NR3 Switchboard was completely overhauled.  All breakers for equipment that was worked on were inspected and cleaned and, when required, repaired.  All ventilation fans/motors were inspected and approximately 50 percent overhauled as a result of that inspection.  The windlass was overhauled.  The boat davit was completely overhauled.”

“The ship came off the dock in late November, the crew moved aboard in December and we are working up for Sea Trials in the next 10 days or so,” says Boone.  “We're looking at sail away on Feb. 11.”

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