The US Navy has successfully converted its Los Angeles-class USS La Jolla (SSN 701) submarine into a next-generation moored training ship (MTS) to train nuclear sailors.
The navy’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) completed the conversion on 7 November.
NNSY is converting two ships to serve as land-based platforms for training at the Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU) in Charleston, South Carolina.
La Jolla is the first and USS San Francisco (SSN 711) is the second in the conversion project. SSN 711 has been at the naval shipyard since January 2017.
SSN 701 is the first-ever ship to be converted into an MTS at NNSY.
USS La Jolla commanding officer CDR John Smith said: “Converting USS La Jolla into a moored training ship is a great investment in the navy’s future and a commitment to fleet excellence.
“Training on a more modern plant design provides a major upgrade and equips our sailors with a reliable platform for the years ahead, which is key to ensuring maximum effectiveness across the Fleet.”
As part of the conversion, NNSY performed two hull cuts, separated the ship into three pieces, and added three new hull sections,
The conversion work meant an increase in the overall ship length by 76ft.
The ship also underwent work similar to the one performed by NNSY as part of engineered overhauls conducts of other Los Angeles-class submarines.
NNSY commander captain Kai Torkelson said: “It’s truly a remarkable accomplishment to complete the conversion of a fast-attack submarine into a moored training ship, the closest NNSY has come in more than 60 years to constructing an all-new vessel.
“Along with USS San Francisco, La Jolla will provide a modern platform for enabling highly skilled and fully capable 21st-century fleet operators.”
The shipyard was assisted by Electric Boat in performing the conversion.