BAE Systems has been awarded a $139.8 million contract by the U.S. Navy to modernize the USS Tortuga. Work on the 610-ft-long, Whidbey Island-class, dock-landing ship will begin in January 2018 at the BAE shipyard in Norfolk, Va. as part of a 16-month restorative project, with the ship expected to be reactivated for operational service in May 2019. With all options exercised, the contract could be worth a total of $183.7 million.
The USS Tortuga (see photo) has been part of the Navy’s LSD/CG-class modernization program since 2016 to replace obsolete structures and hardware. “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 to the fleet in great shape.”
At the start of the Tortuga modernization process in May 2016, BAE Systems’ Norfolk shipyard was awarded a $17.7 million contract. The new contract will involve the installation of upgraded systems and other improvements aboard the ship to extend its service life beyond 40 years. As a result of the contract, BAE is expected to increase its workforce in Norfolk by nearly 100 full-time positions before the start of work on the Tortuga. A total of 870 people are currently employed at the BAE Norfolk shipyard.