Moving Maintenance Forward: Detroit Completes Expeditionary Availability
(Source: US Navy; issued Jan 21, 2020)
A US Navy press release has revealed that Littoral Combat Ships like USS Detroit require one week of maintenance each month, and that civilian contractors are called in to help because the ships’ crews are too small. (USN photo)

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba --- The Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Detroit (LCS 7) departed its maintenance and logistics hub in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba after a week-long planned maintenance availability (PMAV) period, Jan. 17.

PMAV is a monthly process in the ship’s schedule conducted by littoral combat ships, in which a maintenance team assists with the completion of planned maintenance due to the ship’s minimally manned crew. (Emphasis added—Ed.)

Compared to other Navy ship platforms, the littoral combat ship has a relatively small crew. Labor and technical support during Detroit’s deployment is supplemented with civilian contractors who conduct most of the preventative maintenance schedule (PMS) work.

“Maintenance is very important for the ship,” said Senior Chief Fire Controlman Ernest Johnson, Maintenance Materials Management Coordinator (3MC). “Just like a car that doesn’t get regular oil or filter changes, if you don’t maintain your equipment it breaks. It doesn’t last very long. So, it’s very important that we conduct all of our maintenance.”

According to Johnson, the goal of each PMAV period is to complete all the scheduled maintenance within a week-long timeframe and make it possible for her to remain underway for her deployment.

“When the contractors come onboard, they only have a week, when normally we would have a month to complete the same maintenance,” said Johnson.

The maintenance team completed over a thousand scheduled maintenance checks during this second PMAV. The addition civilian contractors to the maintenance team is essential for project completion according to Johnson.

“A maintenance availability of this size and scope done in this location challenged the crew and contractors alike,” said Lt. David Gryzwacz, Chief Engineer. “Through long hours, careful planning and dedicated teamwork, Detroit successfully completed the second OCONUS (outside continental United States) PMAV of her maiden deployment. I’m very proud of the tenacity and professionalism displayed by the ship’s engineering department.”

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet employs maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, fortify the ability of U.S. forces to work together with partner nations, and build enduring partnerships with the ultimate goal of enhancing regional security and promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

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