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VIDEO: NNS installs giant caisson that will speed submarine production

Newport News shipbuilders recently reached a significant construction milestone at the Joint Manufacturing and Assembly Facility, installing a 400-metric ton caisson set to revolutionize the way submarines are constructed Newport News shipbuilders recently reached a significant construction milestone at the Joint Manufacturing and Assembly Facility, installing a 400-metric ton caisson set to revolutionize the way submarines are constructed John Whalen/HII

FEBRUARY 1, 2018 — Huntington Ingalls Industries' (NYSE:HII) Newport News Shipbuilding division has lifted and mounted a 400-metric ton caisson unit into its new Joint Manufacturing Assembly Facility (JMAF).

A time lapse video released by the shipbuilder gives an indication of the new unit's massive size.

The specialized fixture will "revolutionize how we build submarines for our country," said Matt Needy, Newport News' vice president of operations. "A fixture of this magnitude allows us to significantly improve construction efficiencies and shorten our production span times in support of our current Virginia-class submarine programs and future work on the Columbia-class submarine program."

The massive fixture, standing over 80 feet high, is scheduled to be fully operational later this year. It will first be used to streamline the construction of the bow module for the Virginia-class submarine Utah (SSN 801).

The JMAF, which opened in 2017, was designed to support current and future production work on aircraft carriers and submarines.

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