The oft-troubled amphibious transport dock ship San Antonio continues its journey from reclamation project to fleet-ready this week during the second phase of special sea trials following an extended maintenance period.
The ship, the first in its class but deployed only once in its five years in the fleet due to widespread mechanical and electrical problems that forced cancellation of this year’s scheduled deployment, passed the first phase of the trials, held from May 17-26. Afterward, commanding officer Cmdr. Thomas Kait gave his ship and crew an “A+” following comprehensive testing of the ship’s propulsion, steering, electrical, navigation and damage control systems.
This set of trials, which began June 6, is putting the ship through more dynamic twists and turns, testing flight and well deck operations as well as the ship’s combat systems suite, according to the ship’s executive officer, Cmdr. Neil Koprowski.
“I look forward to as successful a second half of sea trials as we had in part one,” Koprowski said. “The crew performed very well, and morale is high. I am completely confident that we will take care of business over the next phase and finish sea trials fully capable, ready to rejoin the fleet.”
Kait said in late May that if all goes well, San Antonio will begin basic training for overseas deployment but could be ready by summer’s end to deploy on short notice should a contingency arise.