Marine Hydraulics Rehabs
Early Flight Arleigh Burkes
The Arleigh Burke class of destroyers
will include 62 warships armed with
an array of weapons including the
Aegis combat system, Tomahawk
land-attack missiles and SQQ- 89
undersea warfare system. The first
Arleigh Burke was launched in 1989,
and ships of the class are still being
built. Marine Hydraulics International (MHI), an employee-owned
ship repair company based in
Norfolk, Va., is repairing and upgrading 14 ships from the oldest of three
variants, or “flights,” of the class.
The Navy’s DDG modernization
plan encompasses 28 of the earlier
variants and a diverse array of
improvements, including an updated bridge, wireless communications
and quality-of-life enhancements.
MHI’s work covers hull, mechanical
and electrical maintenance, habitability improvements for Navy women at sea and the installation of
D. KEVIN ELLIOTT
MHI got a multiship, multi-option
(MSMO) contract in February 2005
for the maintenance and modernization of 12 ships. It was later expanded for two additional vessels. The
contract is for five years, with much
of the work to be done in 2007.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Thomas W. Epley, MHI’s chief
operating officer, has been in the
ship repair and maintenance business since 1986. He joined MHI
in 2005 after several years with
NORSHIPCO, a shipyard in South
Hampton Roads, Va.
Our contract with the Navy is for 14 ships, 10 to be upgraded here
in Norfolk and four at our facility in Mayport, Fla. This year, we
will have our heaviest workload on the DDGs: five to be done here and
two in Mayport.
We have a new 10-acre facility at Lambert’s Point [in the Norfolk area] with
a 1,250-foot pier. We can berth a combination of four DDGs or medium-size
amphibs or commercial ships. We could have four DDGs at that pier, and service all four at once.
The MSMO covers all aspects of maintenance and modernization work:
hull, mechanical and electrical. There have been a lot of habitability upgrades
ongoing for the DDG class. Some of them are getting up there in age.
There have also been alterations to improve force protection of the ship,
including installation of the Close-In Weapons System [an automatic
20mm gun] and 25mm and .50-caliber mounts throughout the ship.
It is a five-year contract with an estimated value of $150-$175 million.
The contract has a requirement that we make a good attempt to subcontract at least 40 percent of the work to small business. Now, we are a small
business. But we are still faced with this requirement, so we utilize various
subcontractors in the Port of Norfolk.
Every six months, we get a report from the Navy on our performance during the previous six months. A grade is assigned and that grade translates into
a percentage of an award pool. And that is essentially what our profits are based
upon for that contract. We’ve done pretty well. But we want to be the
first contractor in the Port of Norfolk to get straight 10s across the board.