May 21, 2009
BIW completes first Ultra Unit
A 900 ton "Ultra Unit" ship module was the focus of a recent brief ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works to mark the keel laying of Spruance (DDG 111), BIW's thirty-third DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
The Spruance keel unit had earlier been moved to its shipbuilding station on BIW's Land Level Transfer Facility (LLTF) using multiple self-propelled mobile transporters. The module is the first in BIW's 124-year history to encompass the full girth of the ship, from the keel to the weather deck. It is also the first Ultra Unit to be completed in the shipyard's new Ultra Hall facility that opened in 2008.
The 1.5 acre Ultra Hall allows BIW to accomplish significantly more construction, preoutfitting and testing of ship units indoors in climate-controlled conditions that enhance workforce safety and productivity.
Since inaugurating its LLTF in 2001, the shipyard has steadily increased the size and content of its ship modules, improving shipyard efficiency and produced significant cost savings for the Navy. The Spruance keel unit represents the next major step in this process.
Major "firsts" achieved in the construction of the unit included installing thousands of feet of cable, completing compartment air tests, verifying integrity of water tight doors, and completing pipe segment testing within the unit. All of these activities have previously been accomplished in later stages of construction.
The module is the most completely preoutfitted and tested unit yet constructed at the shipyard. These advances in production capability are moving the shipyard toward even greater efficiencies on DDG 112, the last ship of this class currently under contract, and, says BIW, are paving the way for efficient construction of DDG 1000, the first ship of the Zumwalt class destroyer, which is now in its early stages.
DDG 111 is named to honor Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN, whose calm and decisive leadership at the Battle of Midway contributed to the pivotal American victory.
Spruance (DDG 111) is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the fall of 2010.