By Margaret Kenyon, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Public Affairs
PHILADELPHIA (NNS) -- Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NAVSSES) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the DDG 51 Land Based Engineering Site (LBES) in Philadelphia with a ceremony Sept. 15.
DDG 51 LBES is the longest-operational test site for the largest peace time class of destroyer the Navy has ever built. LBES was planned to provide NAVSSES engineers and technicians with a platform for immediate investigation, replication, analysis and resolution of both fleet and new construction vessel operational and maintenance problems with no impact on ship schedules. Today, this one test site supports 62 destroyer hulls with more being added soon.
A highlight of the commemoration was the presentation of awards to 25 LBES plankowners.
"A plankowner is an individual who was a member of the crew of a ship when that ship was placed in commission. I was honored to be a plankowner for USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)," explained NAVSSES Commanding Officer Capt. Walter Coppeans in his remarks during the ceremony. "And it's an honor to be here today to honor the NAVSSES Land Based Engineering Site plankowners still working here today - 25 years after the first turn of the shaft at this test site on Aug. 21, 1989."
Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Carderock Division Technical Director Dr. Joseph T. (Tim) Arcano, Jr., also focused on the importance of the anniversary and the people involved with LBES.
"As we all know, our Navy's Fleet begins, not in the shipyard, but in the laboratory ... The DDG 51 Landed Based Engineering Site, and those of you who are part of its historic establishment, are part of the unique group of naval engineers and architects who continue to define and extend our capabilities ... Through your efforts, critical technologies are available to maintain United States naval superiority despite an ever changing world environment," Arcano stated.
NAVSSES Machinery Research and Engineering Department Head Patricia C. Woody reflected on the past, present and future importance of LBES.
"LBES is significant in the sense that it really put our stake in the ground. We have always been involved in test sites, but this is a large, complex land based engineering site that was built for the first design of the DDG 51 to test the ship's reduction gear and machinery control systems," Woody said.
"The DDG 51 class is such a significant portion of our warfighting capability, it is absolutely crucial to continue sustainment of the test site ... With the life expectancy of a destroyer being close to 30 years, there is easily another 25 years and more of testing and training to be done at LBES by NAVSESS engineers and technicians," she continued, focusing on the growth of LBES in preparation for DDG 51 Flight III.
The Ship Systems Engineering Station Philadelphia is a major component of Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division. It is the Navy's principal test and evaluation station and in service engineering agent for all hull, mechanical and electrical ship systems, equipment and has the capability to test and engineer the full range of shipboard systems and equipment from full scale propulsion systems to digital controls and electric power systems.