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The U.S. Navy announced on Friday that it would retire the USS Norfolk (SSN 714) sooner than anticipated and extend the service life of the USS Dallas (SSN 700) in order to save approximately $10 million, spread maintenance work across shipyards and meet the Navy’s operational needs.
The two submarines are part of the Los Angeles-class attack submarines and were each scheduled to be retired from active service.
The 32-year-old USS Dallas, currently in Groton, was initially scheduled to be inactivated in fiscal year 2015 but will remain active until fiscal year 2017. The 31-year-old USS Norfolk, which is overseas, was scheduled to be inactivated in fiscal year 2017 but will be inactivated in early 2015.
The retirement swap is being made because the USS Dallas has already been through one round of pre-inactivation restricted availability (PIRA) maintenance, which is required before a ship completes its remaining scheduled deployments, whereas the USS Norfolk has not.
The USS Dallas will have to go through another round of PIRA maintenance in order to complete more deployments, but the Navy anticipates they will be less costly, said Timothy Hawkins, a spokesman for Submarine Group Two.
“We will have to do a PIRA but we don’t expect it to be as extensive as what we would have done for Norfolk,” Hawkins said.
The Los Angeles-class submarines are equipped to hunt adversary maritime vessels, strike targets on the shore and support Special Forces. Forty-one of the original 62 Los Angeles-class attack submarines that were constructed from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s are still active.