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Page 6. MAINE COASTAL NEWS September 2013 Waterfront News


Navy Sailors, Divers Find and Salvage Downed F-16C Aircraft

From Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group 2 Public Affairs VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (NNS) -- Navy Sailors and Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2, embarked aboard the Navy’s rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS-51), found and salvaged a downed F-16 aircraft off the coast of Vir- ginia, Aug. 6-20.

The downed aircraft was one of two

F-16 fi ghter jets from the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard that clipped wings mid- air during a routine training mission 35 miles southeast of Chincoteague, VA, Aug. 1. The other aircraft involved in the in- cident was able to fl y back to Joint Base Andrews in Md. without further incident. The MDSU 2 Area Search Platoon (ASP) 201 departed Virginia Beach Aug. 6 and began seven days of search operations to fi nd the aircraft. Staging out of Chin- coteague Island, VA, the team of six Navy Sailors, led by Operations Specialist Chief William Earp, conducted both towed and au- tonomous side-scan sonar searches of more than 10 square miles of ocean bottom, before locating the F-16 approximately three miles from the point of the mid-air incident. On Aug. 14, the MDSU 2 ASP found and recovered aircraft debris using a remote operated vehicle. With the crash site located, the ASP turned over the operation to Navy Divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage (MDS) Company 2-4 who arrived on Grasp after a small-boat transfer.

The MDS Company 2-4 divers began surface-supplied diving operations Aug. 16 and recovered part of the aircraft from the ocean fl oor by using a basket to raise large pieces of the jet from a depth of 107 feet. The next day, the divers recovered the fl ight data recorder, commonly referred to as the “black box.”

Diving operations ended Aug. 19 after recovering key debris. The remnants of the aircraft and the fl ight data recorder are being transferred to Joint Base Andrews for examination by the Air Force’s Safety

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“I’d like to thank the Sailors, Navy Divers and Civilian Mariners for their cooperation and expertise at locating and recovering the aircraft, including the fl ight data recorder,” said Brig. Gen. Marc Sas- seville, commander, 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard. “These key items will help us to understand what happened and what we can do to prevent a similar occurrence.” MDSU 2 is an expeditionary mobile unit homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Ft. Story in Virginia Beach, Va., and has successfully conducted salvage operations to support TWA Flight 800, Swiss Air Flight 111, the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, the I-35W Mis- sissippi River bridge collapse in Minnesota, the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, and recovery of a down military jet off the coast of Italy.

USNS Grasp is crewed by U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC), which operates approximately 110 noncombatant, U.S. Navy civilian-crewed ships that replen- ish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, and move mil- itary cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

PNSY Returns USS Pittsburgh to the Fleet

ortsmouth Naval Shipyard Public Affairs KITTERY, Maine (NNS) -- Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) delivered Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Pitts- burgh (SSN 720) on-time and under budget, NAVSEA announced Aug. 15. PNSY conducted the Pittsburgh pre-in- activation restricted availability (PIRA) off- yard at Sub Base New London in Groton, Conn. which began Sept. 5, 2012. Although PNSY routinely performs

work off-yard, this was the fi rst major Chief of Naval Operations availability of more than 100,000 man-days which PNSY exe- cuted outside of Kittery, Maine. “Off-yard availabilities are unique and require an all-inclusive team mentality from

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planning to execution,” said Don Robinson, deputy project superintendent. “The can-do attitude of our entire team made small work of even fi rst-time challenges throughout the execution period.”

The project team and crew’s combined pride and work ethic drove them to success as they met the overhaul’s key dates includ- ing undocking three days early - none of which would have been possible without the maintenance partnership with the Pittsburgh crew lead by commanding offi cer, Cmdr. William Solomon. “Cmdr. Solomon and the crew of Pitts-

burgh were side-by-side with the shipyard in overcoming each and every obstacle,” said, Capt. James Kalowsky, PNSY operations offi cer. “They truly exemplifi ed the ship’s motto and displayed a ‘heart of steel.’” The on-time and on-budget completion of submarine availabilities is critical in the maintenance of today’s fl eet and is essential to maintaining readiness. PNSY remains devoted to the technical excellence and ju- diciousness that is required to meet schedule and budget demands.

“This shipyard has been providing for the defense of this country and maintaining the Navy for more than 200 years,” said Capt. William Greene, shipyard command- er. “The platforms may have changed from sailing ships to nuclear-powered submarines but one thing that will always remain is the traditional Portsmouth quality work which continues to safely deliver excellence for the nation and the Navy.” PNSY, a fi eld activity of the Naval Sea Systems Command, is committed to maximizing the material readiness of the fl eet by safely delivering fi rst-time quality, on-budget, and on-time.

Navy: Patent-Pending Power at the Speed of Light

By Troy Clarke and Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chris Okula, Naval Sur- face Warfare Center Corona Public Affairs NORCO, Calif. (NNS) -- The Navy’s sub- marine force has a new, patent-pending tool allowing it to maintain its fi ber optic systems like never before - a new capability powered by an invention from the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Corona Division, its top offi cer announced Aug. 8. The innovation lets the Navy compare

fi ber optic power test meters throughout their entire range of output against a known standard, allowing the fl eet to perform reli- able and accurate measurements in-house, without outsourcing, reducing costs while increasing capability for the maritime ser- vice.

Commanding Offi cer Capt. Eric Ver Hage praised the delivery, lauding the new instrument as a measurement science mile- stone that the 21st century military will rely on for years to come.

“Our R&D team has been working hard to develop this fi ber optic calibration standard,” Ver Hage said. “Seeing it deliv- ered to the submarine fl eet is an awesome example of what warfare centers do for Navy programs to drive down costs while keeping our fi ghting forces at the forefront of technology.” Ver Hage added this is yet another achievement that strengthens the Navy’s intellectual property holdings that adds long-term value to the taxpayer. The latest Patent Power Scorecard published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers ranks the Navy’s patent portfolio best in the world amongst

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