Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Zumwalt Switches To Steel

Defense Industry Daily website (1) reports that GD Bath Iron Works has received a contract to build a steel superstructure for DDG-1002 rather than composite.  Wouldn’t you love to know what the Navy’s reason for that was?  We’ve discussed some of the issues, here and here, involved in the Zumwalt program and the suitability of the composite superstructure was one of those.  Specific concerns included steel-composite joint problems, structural strength, ballistic resistance, damage control issues, difficulty of production, maintenance and repairability, etc.  Apparently, the Navy has run into problems sufficiently difficult to cause them to revert to steel. 

We’ll keep an eye out for more on this.


9 comments:

  1. Most likely someone wanted a "control" for the "experimental" composite version to be compare against. My question is what will they sacrifice to compensate for the addition upper weight.

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  2. Doesn't the Zumwalt already have stability concerns? I suppose a couple hundred tons of concrete in the ballast would help but I'm thinking the money could be better spent elsewhere. Make it a minimally crewed research vessel and move on. I would rather have 4 Burkes that can actually fight (remember when our fleet ships were expected to fight?) than a floating money pit. Adm. Zumwalt deserves better.

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  3. Don't the Swedish have a composite naval vessel? What has been their experience with the use of that material?

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    1. Does anyone know what name/class the composite ship is?

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    2. I just looked it up. It is called Visby. Wikipedia says it is a Corvette. Sorry I hadn't looked it up before posting.

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    3. The Visby appears to be built of a composite of PVC (a rigid plastic) and glass fiber-vinyl laminate whereas the Zumwalt uses balsa wood and polyesters. I have no idea how comparable those are. I've also not found any information regarding performance to date for the Visby structure.

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  4. Apparently weight savings elsewhere make up for the increases. Maybe the lack of a VSR?

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  5. The history of composite naval vessels is mixed. One, a minesweeper if I remember correctly, burned and sank at dock. Some high speed ones had suffered wave damage. The USS Cardinal class we never launched because of poor construction. On the other hand, most high speed vessel today are built using composites, so we may have learn something since they first appeared.

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  6. There are lots of composite military vessels, but they arent really "warships".
    The Visby, the Hunt, the Sandown, the skjold, are all composite, but they are all limited to calm seas for a few days

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