The Naval Submarine School opened its newest training facility located at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) in Kittery, Maine, at a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 7, 2021. Present at the ceremony were Rear Admiral Edward L. Anderson, Deputy Commander – Undersea Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command; Mr. Stephen B. Fahey, Senior Executive Service, PNS Nuclear Engineering and Planning Manager; Captain Matthew R. Boland, Commodore, Commander Submarine Squadron 12; Captain Daniel W. Ettlich, Commander, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard; and Captain Steven W. Antcliff, Commanding Officer, Naval Submarine School.
The planning and construction of the the state-of-the-art training facility was a result of intense collaboration between the Navy’s Submarine Learning Center, Naval Submarine School, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Nuclear Laboratory, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, and Electric Boat Corporation. The facility will contain multiple trainers developed by NAVSEA which simulate various configurations of combat systems onboard submarines.
This innovative training facility will enhance submarine warfighters’ mission readiness by providing high velocity training to crews attached to boats homeported at PNS. This training will allow the crews to become better submariners and work more effectively as a team.
“This new training facility provides an opportunity for a more efficiently trained submarine force and buys back Ship’s Force capacity to support maintenance,” said Fahey, who offered welcoming remarks during the ceremony. “Additionally, this program will contribute significantly to safety and improve Sailor quality of life!”
In the past, Sailors attached to submarines homeported at PNS had to travel 320 miles round trip from Kittery to the Naval Submarine School in Groton to conduct required training to prepare for at sea operations. For every 700 man-hours of training, an additional 1000 man-hours of travel had to be factored into the equation—taking crews away from their boats, increasing stress and displacing other priorities.
However, with the opening of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard detachment, Sailors do not need to leave their homeport to access the many of the same training capabilities. With the opening of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard detachment, crews will be better prepared, have more hands-on practice, and will achieve warfighting readiness faster and more effectively than in the past.
“This new training facility is intended to support the Navy’s goal to enhance Sailors’ combat readiness by increasing access to training facilities and instructors to improve individual and team performance on our submarines,” said Antcliff. “To succeed in the era of Great Power Competition, our Sailors must remain the best trained and educated naval force in the world. The opening of this detachment allows us to meet this goal by providing local access to Ready Relevant Learning to our submarine crews stationed at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.”
The Naval Submarine School builds a foundation upon which officers and enlisted personnel are prepared to develop the competence and proficiency in skills necessary to operate and maintain their submarines. The Naval Submarine School is part of the Navy’s Submarine Learning Center, and is located aboard Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, CT.