The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returned to sea to conduct comprehensive at-sea testing, the service announced.
The ship departed Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII)-Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Pascagoula shipyard at approximately 6:30 a.m. (CDT) on Feb. 3 to conduct a series of demonstrations to evaluate that the ship’s onboard systems meet Navy performance specifications. Among the systems that will be tested are navigation, damage control, mechanical and electrical systems, combat systems, communications, and propulsion.
The vessel was involved in a collision with the Philippine-flagged container ship, ACX Crystal, 56 nautical miles (103 km) southwest of Yokosuka, Japan on June 17, 2017. Seven Sailors lost their lives and the ship was damaged on her starboard side above and below the waterline.
This underway reflects nearly two years’ worth of effort in restoring and modernizing one of the Navy’s most capable warships after the collision damage. Since the ship’s arrival in Pascagoula in January 2018, work has focused on restoring the integrity of the hull and topside structures that were damaged during a collision. The vessel was successfully launched in April last year.
“Since we launched the ship this past April our efforts have focused on restoring ship systems, conducting pier side tests and readying the ship for sea,” said Rear Adm. Tom Anderson, NAVSEA director Surface Ship Maintenance and Modernization and commander, Navy Regional Maintenance Center. “The government and industry team has been working hand-in-hand on this exceptionally complex effort, with a common purpose of returning Fitzgerald to sea and ultimately back to the Fleet.”
Upon Fitzgerald’s return to the shipyard, crew training and certifications will commence as final work items are completed in support of the ship’s sail away later this spring.
“We are excited to take the next step to get Fitzgerald back out to sea where the ship belongs. My crew is looking forward to moving onboard the ship and continuing our training to ensure we are ready to return to the fleet,” said Cmdr. Scott Wilbur, Fitzgerald’s commanding officer.
After receiving its full complement of basic and advanced phased training, as well as crew and ship certifications, the USS Fitzgerald will return to the Fleet mission-ready with the improved capability and lethality required to successfully support high-end operations.