The Tortuga will undergo 16 months of restorative work at the company’s shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia, the ship’s homeport. The contract includes options that, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value to $183.7 million.
BAE Systems will begin working aboard the 610-foot-long Whidbey Island-class ship in January 2018 and will perform a combination of maintenance, modernization, and repair. The availability is expected to be completed in May 2019 with the reactivation of the ship for operational service.
“Our employees and subcontractors look forward to working with the Navy to perform the deep modernization work to ensure the Tortuga remains a very capable amphibious combatant ship,” said Dave Thomas, vice president and general manager of BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair. “Our previous experience with the ship and the outstanding skills of our employees and subcontractors will help us to return the ship back to the fleet in great shape.”
The USS Tortuga was commissioned in November 1990. The ship has been part of the Navy’s LSD/CG-class modernization program since 2016, when the ship underwent several modernization industrial periods and obsolete and legacy equipment and structures were removed. BAE Systems’ Norfolk shipyard was awarded a $17.7 million contract in May 2016, at the start of Tortuga’s modernization process. The new contract will involve the installation of upgraded systems and other improvements aboard the ship to extend its service life beyond 40 years.
With receipt of the Tortuga contract and other smaller maintenance contracts, BAE Systems is expected to increase its workforce in Norfolk by nearly 100 full-time positions before the start of the Tortuga availability. The shipyard currently employs about 870 people.