Newport News Shipbuilding officials say their emphasis on new digital tools is paying dividends during the mid-life overhaul of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington.
Shipyard workers recently placed a modernized radar tower onto the ship. It marked the first time they installed it as one complete structure. During previous carrier overhauls, it had to be installed as two individual units.
The overhaul is now about 25 percent complete, according to a company news release.
Chris Miner, a shipyard vice president, said the move "was the result of our digital shipbuilding efforts" that included visual work instructions, making the work flow more efficient. He called it "a significant engineering, planning and construction improvement."
Digital shipbuilding takes different forms. Workers can call up plans on computer tablets instead of using paper blueprints. Augmented reality allows them to see every step in a certain job. The newest Ford-class carrier, the future USS Enterprise, is destined to be the first "paperless" carrier, built without relying on paper drawings.
Known as a Refueling and Complex Overhaul, the company received a $2.8 billion contract in September 2017 for the George Washington, although advance work began before that.
In addition to refueling the ship's two nuclear reactors, shipbuilders will modernize more than 2,300 compartments, 600 tanks and hundreds of systems. Besides the radar tower, the company will make major upgrades to the island house, flight deck, catapults, combat systems and the island.
The overhaul is expected to be completed in late 2021.
The Newport News shipyard, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, is the only shipyard that designs, builds and refuels nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for the Navy. It also builds and maintains nuclear-powered submarines.
This article is written by Hugh Lessig from Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.