The US Navy’s Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69) has successfully completed its sea trials off the Virginia coast.

Also known as Ike, the vessel returned to the sea towards the end of last month for the first time since August 2017 after receiving upgrades during a scheduled planned incremental availability (PIA) at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY).

CVN 69 performed the sea trials alongside NNSY engineers and shipyard employees who were onboard to perform testing of the vessel.

Ike commanding officer captain Kyle Higgins said: “Sea trials were successful well beyond expectations. Our investment in our ship paid off and now the real work begins: getting the flight deck certified so we start doing what this warship was built to do, launch and recover aircraft.”

“Our investment in our ship paid off and now the real work begins: getting the flight deck certified.”

As part of the trials, the engineers and shipyard workers oversaw a series of activities including conducting small-boat operations, testing countermeasure wash-down systems, executing high-speed turns, and testing catapults.

Sailors engaged in various drills during the trials to assess their readiness. The focus areas of the drills were damage control, deck seamanship, and flight deck operations.

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The crew also got the opportunity to encounter real-life scenarios while navigating the open ocean during the five-day period.

Ike assistant navigator lieutenant commander Benjamin Sanders said: “These five days made our bridge teams much more proficient and allowed us to carefully evaluate our strengths and weaknesses so we can continue to improve.”

The vessel will now start the basic phase of the Optimised Fleet Response Plan (OFRP). Higgins noted that following the completion of the basic phase, the training will be more focussed and intense.

CVN 69 is part of the Carrier Strike Group 10, which is also known as the USS Dwight D Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

Other assets in the CSG include the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers USS Monterey (CG 61), USS San Jacinto (CG 56), and USS Vella Gulf (CG 72); the ships and staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 26; and the squadrons and staff of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3.