Navy looks to private contractors for more sub maintenance

The USS New Mexico as it returned to the Naval Submarine Base in New London. (Photo: US Navy)

GROTON, Conn. (AP) — With U.S. attack submarines sidelined by extended delays at government shipyards, the Navy is turning to private companies to perform more of the maintenance work on the nuclear-powered vessels.

The commander of the Navy’s submarine force, Vice Adm. Michael Connor, says routine overhauls that once took 19 months have been taking 28 months because of staffing shortages at U.S. shipyards. He said in an interview last week with The Associated Press that those delays have a “significant impact” on the force.

Connor said the companies expected to bid on new contracts for overhaul work are Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut and Virginia’s Newport News Shipbuilding.

The country’s four Naval shipyards have been understaffed because of Pentagon budget cuts and a hiring freeze that took effect just as many submarines came due for maintenance.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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