The US Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) is conducting sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean after receiving upgrades.

The vessel underwent a scheduled planned incremental availability (PIA) at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY).

Sea trials are currently underway off the coast of Virginia. NNSY engineers are onboard Ike to perform testing of the vessel.

The sea trials involve conducting small-boat operations, testing countermeasure washdown systems, executing high-speed turns, and testing catapults.

Meanwhile, sailors are participating in drills to test their capabilities in damage control, deck seamanship, and flight deck operations.

Aircraft intermediate maintenance department (AIMD) member airman Tanner Brown said: “I think going out to sea provides a sense of accomplishment. We finally get to see not only what we’re doing but what everyone on the ship is doing as a whole to get to the end goal and see everything come together.”

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“It took a total team effort by ship’s force and the NNSY project team to deliver this critical asset ready to fight.”

Ike is set to conclude the PIA and the maintenance phase of the optimised fleet response plan (OFRP) following which NNSY will completely hand over the ship to its crew.

NNSY project superintendent Lonnie Kenley said: “This availability allowed us to deliver Ike back to the fleet prepared to execute its mission with a number of mechanical, electrical, and combat systems improvements.

“It took a total team effort by ship’s force and the NNSY project team to deliver this critical asset ready to fight.”

Upon the completion of sea trials, Ike will transition to the basic phase of OFRP.

The Navy plans to prepare the vessel for its upcoming deployment as part of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, also known as the USS Dwight D Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

CSG 10 includes CVN 69, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey (CG 61), USS San Jacinto (CG 56), and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72).

In addition, the CSG features the ships and staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26, and the squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3.

CVN 69 is the second Nimitz-class aircraft carrier and the first ship named after the 34th US President. The PIA started in 2017.

The vessel can be used to perform maritime security operations, expeditionary power projection, forward naval presence, crisis response, sea control, deterrence, and counter-terrorism.