After 3 Years And $200 Million In Upgrades US Navy’s USS Boxer Still Cant’ Get To Sea

Since entering a San Diego dry dock in June 2020, the amphibious assault vessel dubbed the Boxer has spent seven days at sea and has not departed from San Diego for about 13 months, a Navy spokesperson informed KPBS in a statement on Wednesday.

The Navy will not state what issues are plaguing the Boxer or how many times it has tried and failed to get to sea in the last year, per Cmdr. Arlo Abrahamson, a Navy Surface Force spokesperson based in San Diego, mentioned that the Boxer’s crew member had identified some extra maintenance requirements before the vessel managed to get underway.

Credit: @KPBS/ youtube

Specific instances of maintenance casualties owing to operational security are only sometimes discussed, per Abrahamson. However, it can be seen that the Boxer’s preparation for the sea trials has identified some additional maintenance requirements before the vessel can get underway. The Boxer is an 844-foot vessel that is a miniature aircraft carrier. It returned from the most recent deployment in 2019 (November).

In 2020 (June), the vessel started a two-year, $200 million upgrade to enable it to function with the most advanced Marine Corps fighter, the F-35B Lightning II. It also spent the next 14 months in a dry dock in San Diego. On leaving the dry dock, the vessel spent an additional nine months pier-side, where upgrade and maintenance work continued.

By June last year, the vessel was prepared for its sea trials. It spent about seven days at sea before returning to San Diego, where it has been ever since. Abrahamson mentioned that the crew has stayed sharp for the last 13 months by reportedly simulating being at sea while pier-side. He wouldn’t say when the Boxer plans again to attempt to depart from San Diego but that more trials will begin in the “near future.”

The vessel expects to begin its sea trials in the future as part of its work-up cycle for deployment, per Abrahamson. Boxer’s sister vessel, the Bonhomme Richard, was reportedly lost to fire in 2020 (July). Despite losing the Bonhomme Richard and the Boxer’s unavailability, Abrahamson mentioned that the Navy could meet the global force demand for amphibious forces in 2022. The Boxer boasts a crew comprising approximately 1,000 sailors and carries over 1,500 Marines when deployed.

Reference: KPBS,

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