Nov 16, 2011 12:47 UTC
Latest updates: Happy endings. Mostly.
LHD 8 construction
USS Makin Island [LHD-8] was built in Pascagoula, MS, as the last ship of America’s Wasp Class amphibious assault carriers. The keel was laid in February 2004, but all of the changes from the LHD-1 Wasp Class meant that about 67% of the previous line drawings, and 75% of the test procedures, needed to be modified for Makin Island. Then Hurricane Katrina hit the in-progress ship. The labor pool also took a hit, with up to 1/3 of the Gulf Coast personnel leaving the area and the company. The pool of electrical professionals was especially hard hit, and 55-60% of the LHD 8’s final labor force was under the 4-5 year threshold to be considered experienced workers.
Even so, Katrina hit back in August 2005. Which is why Northrop Grumman was surprised at the slowness of its integration and testing progress during final construction in 2008, as part of the ship’s preparation for sea trials. That led to a comprehensive review and audit – and a bill of $320-360 million to fix the ship, which was footed by Northrop Grumman:
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Aug 07, 2011 14:24 UTC
(click for details)
Submarines travel underwater, but they all need oxygen. Diesel-electric submarines need it for their engines, and must surface to get it, though modern AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) systems allow moderate power cruising for weeks at a time without surfacing. Nuclear-powered submarines can cruise at full power for years, of course, as their engines do not need air. Their crews, however, do. Hence Electrolytic Oxygen Generators (EOGs), which break up water molecules and keep the oxygen for use aboard ship.
Treadwell Corp’s Model 6L16 EOG was first introduced in 1965…
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Jul 01, 2008 13:09 UTC
New Finmeccanica acquisition DRS EW & Network Systems, Inc. in Buffalo, NY received a $6.9 million fixed-price, time and materials contract for a Gigabit Ethernet Data Multiplex System (GEDMS) for DDG 53, a Flight 1 Arleigh Burke Class AEGIS destroyer commonly known as USS John Paul Jones. Some may remember the ship’s namesake as the Scot who became the father of the American navy, and uttered the famous battle phrase “I have not yet begun to fight!”
The GEDMS is a network for Arleigh Burke Class destroyers that acts as a ship wide data transfer network for a ship’s machinery, steering, navigation, combat, alarm and indicating, and damage control systems. It was designed to replace the miles of point-to-point cabling, signal converters, junction boxes, and switchboards associated with conventional ship’s cabling. DRS will also provide a land-based GEDMS trainer, EDMS hardware, and installation and checkout repair for the DDG53 GEDMS, and the contract includes an option which would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $7 million.
USS John Paul Jones
Work will be performed in Johnstown, PA (80%) and Buffalo, NY (20%), and is expected to be complete by December 2009. This contract was procured on a limited competition basis, with 2 proposals solicited and 2 offers received via the Federal Business Opportunities website. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, VA manages the contract (N00178-08-C-2001).
Mar 09, 2008 15:33 UTC
Building the F-35
At present, F-35 Lightning II/ Joint Strike Fighter production is led by Lockheed Martin, with BAE and Northrop-Grumman playing major supporting roles, and many subcontractors below them. F-35 main production and final assembly is currently slated to take place in Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, TX plant, though Italy and Britain may end up getting Final Assembly and Check-Out (FACO) plants of their own.
In order to cut F-35 production cycle time, and hence production costs, the team currently produces major sections of the aircraft at different feeder plants, and “mates” the assemblies at Fort Worth. This is normal in the auto industry, but it’s a departure from the usual fighter-building process which has raw materials and individual parts or small sub-assemblies feed into production lines, then rolls finished fighters out the other end. The precise tolerances required for a stealthy fighter, however, are much more exacting than even high-end autos. To cope, Manufacturing Business Technology reports that the team has turned to an integrated array of back-end IT systems in order to manage this new process, from CATIA CAD, to Visiprise MES, TeamCenter PLM, SAP ERP, and even a locally-designed Production & Inventory Optimization System (PIOS) for manufacturing resources planning and supply chain management.
This ‘digital thread’ has been very successful for the team, with part fits showing incredible precision, and successful coordination of plants around the end schedule for key events like the Dec 18/07 F-35B rollout. The system’s ultimate goal is to cut a plane’s production cycle time from the usual 27-30 months to about a year, and lead time from order creation to printed, matched manufacturing orders from 15-20 days to 6-8 days. Read MBT’s “Fly high on a thread” to learn more.
Jan 28, 2008 16:37 UTC
Submarines travel underwater, but they all need oxygen. Diesel-electric submarines need it for their engines, and must surface to get it, though modern AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) supplemental systems allow one to cruise at moderate power for over a week without surfacing. Nuclear-powered submarines could cruise underwater at full power for years, of course, as their engines do not need air. Their crews, however, do. Hence Electrolytic Oxygen Generators (EOGs), which break up water molecules and keep the oxygen for use aboard ship.
Treadwell Corp’s Model 6L16 EOG was first introduced in 1965. It breaks up distilled water by passing an electric current through an electrolyte solution (30% potassium hydroxide) in 16 high-pressure cells, connected in series. This equipment can produce 150 standard cubic feet per hour of oxygen, and variants remain the primary oxygen producers aboard the USA’s SSN-688 Los Angeles Class fast attack submarines and SSBN-726 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarines. Treadwell also produces Oxygen Generation Plants (OGPs) for the new SSN-21 Seawolf Class fast attack submarines, which include OGP electrolysis modules that depend on proton exchange membranes for oxygen separation.
The US Navy is moving to upgrade both of these systems.
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Jan 14, 2008 16:30 UTC
Russia’s Type 877 Kilo Class diesel-electric submarines have gained a reputation as extremely quiet boats, and are in service with Russia (24), China (2), India (8), Iran (3), Poland, Romania and Algeria. India’s Type 877EKM Sindhugosh Class submarines [S55-S62] began to travel to Russia for refits in 1997, with S58 INS Sindhuvir as the first candidate. A German-designed, Indian-built main battery has replaced the Russian batteries in all vessels, and India’s submarines have also received either a Russian upgrade package of missiles, sonar, and machinery & weapon control systems, or India’s indigenous Panchendriya package. The goal is to bring them closer to parity with the more advanced Type 636 Improved Kilo Class variant – S65 INS Sindhushastra, and possibly S63 INS Sindhurakshak, are already rumored to be at or close to that level.
Now a serious incident has put a brake on the refit program, as India has returned S62 INS Sindhuvijay to its Russian contractor, citing unacceptable performance with its new sub-launched Klub missiles. With the $1+ billion Admiral Gorshkov carrier refit already in trouble, and Russia making hostile foreign policy moves, the last thing the relationship needs is another problem – but that’s what it has.
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Dec 05, 2007 14:57 UTC
Bell OH-58D, Iraq
“Can the US Army Afford Helicopter Modernization?” covered a CBO report addressing the USA’s future helicopter procurement plans. Meanwhile, the existing fleet must still be maintained, lest rising maintenance costs eat into the procurement budget. The future fleet will also need to improve.
There’s a trend around the world toward HUMS (Health & Usage Monitoring Systems). Initial helicopter HUMS systems were developed twin-engine helicopters flown to offshore oil rigs in the North Sea, whose savage weather and freezing seas can quickly combine to turn even relatively minor mechanical problems into life-threatening events. In time, HUMS are spreading to other commercial platforms, while trying to remain cheap enough to stay economically feasible.
As one might expect, the US Army is very interested. Their current maintenance system largely relies on aviation maintenance and parts replacement based on operating hours, or on a set number of days. In contrast, moving to a HUMS system that can monitor issues (diagnostic), predict likely faults before they occur (prognostic), and schedule maintenance based on need, ought to have several benefits. For starters, it would vastly improve reliability diagnosis of the platform as a whole, and help to identify required areas for improvement. It would also cut down on spare parts usage, save man-hours, and keep more helicopters available to fly. Now, a coalition led by Bell Helicopter has submitted a winning proposal…
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