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March 17, 2022

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard receives $475M to modernize dry dock

shipyard exterior COURTESY / PORTSMOUTH NAVAL SHIPYARD Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery is receiving $475 million to upgrade its dry dock.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard will get $475 million in funding to modernize a dry dock to make it better able to handle submarine maintenance for the future, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said.

Currently, Dry Dock No. 1 at the Kittery yard can only accommodate Los Angeles-class submarines, which means it would be rendered obsolete when that class of submarines leave service in the 2030's.

Failure to modernize the dry dock would result in 20 deferred submarine maintenance opportunities through 2040, risking the Navy submarines’ ability to accomplish their missions around the world, Collins said.

“The significant investments this legislation makes in our public shipyards, particularly Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, are essential to maintaining our Navy fleet and enhancing our national security. I have long advocated for the Navy to address the modernization needs at PNSY, and this legislation will help build on funding I have previously secured for critical upgrades,” she said.

Collins is a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee.

Collins also said she secured language to support PNSY’s apprenticeship program that  directs the Navy to induct a class of no fewer than 100 apprentices at each of the Navy’s four public shipyards.

The omnibus funding package, in which this funding was included, passed the House and the Senate, and President Joe Biden signed it into law on Wednesday.

“I am pleased that the bill includes language I championed to support the Navy’s apprenticeship program. PNSY has trained hundreds of hardworking and skilled shipbuilders through this program, which has helped it remain the gold standard among the nation’s public shipyards,” Collins said.

An additional $195 million above what was requested in the Navy’s budget request is provided for maintaining and modernizing facilities across the Navy, as well as an additional $200 million specifically for projects at the Navy’s four public shipyards identified in the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program.

According to a 2019 report, the shipyard, a sprawling, 300-acre complex on islands in the Piscataqua River, employs about 7,300 civilians, more than half of whom are Maine residents.

The Kittery yard is the oldest — established in 1800 — of four operated throughout the country by the Navy.

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