An arm passes across a plate in the big machine, depositing powdered metal before a laser fuses it all together.
Wipe. Zap. Wipe. Zap.
Hour by hour, and layer by painstaking layer, the machine, a 3D metal printer built by 3D Systems, hums away.
Wipe. Zap. Wipe. Zap.
“This build has over a thousand layers so it’s just slowly making its way through,” Dan Hebert, an engineer at Newport News Shipbuilding said. “It’ll take a little over a day. It runs continuously.”
A little more than two miles from where workers at Newport News Shipbuilding are assembling the future aircraft carriers John F. Kennedy and Enterprise along the James River, a new tangent in the future of shipbuilding has been slowly taking shape in a nondescript office in an industrial park.
The shapes on this day were a collection of small cubes and rectangles, about 3 to 6 inches tall, designed by Kyle Wade — a Newport News Shipbuilding mechanical engineer and Navy reservist — via 3D modeling software and uploaded to the printer rather than being cast in a foundry. The pieces were being printed to test for strength and quality.
“We look at the microstructure as well as the strength properties,” Hebert said as he stood near the machine, watching as the pieces took shape through a small window in its side. “So, when we compare traditional properties, or traditional processes, we’re trying to make sure that this process is as strong as our traditional cast.”
3D printing, also known as additive technology, is not new. It's been used for years and is common for producing plastic prototypes and medical devices. The Navy has used it for other purposes.
In October, Naval Sea Systems Command announced that it was upping the ante when it approved a prototype 3D-printed metal drain strainer for installation on the Naval Station Norfolk-based aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman. The part will be installed in coming weeks in the carrier’s steam system for a one-year trial.
Manufacturing a product for use on a Navy ship system requires significant testing before it can be certified for fleet-wide use. Engineers at Newport News Shipbuilding approached the Navy with the idea a few years ago but there was no rule book for 3D metal printed objects, or specifications to work from, Don Hamadyk, director of research and development, and John Ralls, an engineering manager and Navy reservist, said.
"We're still paving the road because the Navy, rightfully so, has to pay a lot of attention to the reliability of the parts, safety of their sailors and operability of their ships" Hamadyk said. "So, the technical work that we've done over the last, really, four years is all aligned toward making the Navy comfortable with the parts that are going on their ships."
As Newport News Shipbuilding developed its own qualifications, the Navy worked separately on its specifications for industry, Justin Rettaliata, who handles the approval of 3D printed components for ship installation for NAVSEA, said.
Those specifications include details from the process and materials used to the tests that must be performed.
"For casting and forging, you know, we have reams of data from hundreds of years of experience on what the material properties are," he said.
The part being installed on Truman took three days to build and was printed at a Newport News Shipbuilding partner, spokesman Duane Bourne said. It was originally a cast part made that required a lead time of up to nine months, Rettaliata said.
The Navy is looking to 3D printing as a way to skirt those long lead times for critical parts, as well as a way to replace pieces that may be obsolete. It may also prove a less expensive method when the Navy needs only a few replacement parts rather than having to order a large lot, Rettaliata said. The Navy is discussing other 3D metal printed components with the shipbuilder as well.
The valve made for the Truman "met or exceeded" the requirements for the traditionally cast part, Rettaliata said. After a year of use, it will be cut out and go through another battery of tests.
“There’s not a lot of data for operational testing,” he said. “This will go through a year of, you know, use. Whatever that use might be, So this will allow us to do testing, see how it holds up for corrosion, see if there’s any cracking.”
butMar 14, 2018now
First flight for Defiant delayed to 2019 https://www.defensenews.com/land/2018/12/12/first-flight-for-defiant-delayed-to-2019/
Sikorsky and Boeing provided the first look at the Defiant helicopter, one of two designs competing under the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role technology demonstrator program, two weeks after confirming the first flight would be delayed until 2019.
The Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator effort will inform requirements for the U.S. Army’s FVL family of systems, which will come online in the 2030s.
The Defiant is designed to fly at twice the speed and range of today’s conventional helicopters and offers advanced agility and maneuverability, according to the Sikorsky-Boeing team. Data from the Defiant will help the Army develop requirements for new utility helicopters expected to enter service in the early 2030s.
The Defiant’s first flight was bumped to 2019 following a technical issue discovered during ground tests. Competitor Bell’s V-280 Valor tilt-rotor aircraft has been flying since December 2017.
Sikorsky and Boeing provided the first look at the new Defiant helicopter, one of two designs participating in the Army’s Joint Multi-Role-Medium Technology Demonstrator Program. (Courtesy Sikorsky-Boeing Team)
Sikorsky and Boeing provided the first look at the new Defiant helicopter. The aircraft’s rotor system will allow it to fly about twice as fast and twice as far as today’s conventional helicopters. (Courtesy Sikorsky-Boeing Team)
now (dated 21 December 2018)Yesterday at 3:42 PM
Raytheon to build first three Air and Missile Defense Radars for US Navy http://navaltoday.com/2017/05/02/raytheon-to-build-first-three-air-and-missile-defense-radars-for-us-navy/
now recalled sometime in 2001 on the way from or to Logan Airport in a limo we had stopped in Marlborough, MA; the name sounded cool to me, but I saw nothing remarkable there LOLRaytheon Integrated Defense Systems has received a $114.06m contract from the US Navy to provide AN/SPY-6(V) air and missile defence radar (AMDR) integration and production support services.
AN/SPY-6(V) is currently in production and said to be the US Navy’s next-generation integrated AMDR, designed to handle air, surface, and ballistic missile threats.
The contract includes providing integration and production support for continued combat system integration and test, engineering, training, software and depot maintenance, and field engineering services, as well as spare parts procurement.
The cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price, cost only contract consist of options, which would increase the total agreement value to $357.82m if exercised.
Raytheon will carry out the majority of contract work in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
Works will also be performed in Kauai, Hawaii; Portsmouth, Rhode Island; San Diego, California; Fair Lakes, Virginia; and Moorestown, New Jersey. Completion of works is anticipated before December next year.
The company will receive around $46.22m in navy funding over the next couple of years, with $6.88m paid out at the end of the current fiscal year.
Raytheon received the contract under the statutory authority of 10 US Code 2304(c)(1), which allows procurement of resources from a sole company.
The AN/SPY-6(V) radar is made up of individual ‘building blocks’ known as Radar Modular Assemblies and is being built at Raytheon’s new facility in Andover, Massachusetts.
According to the company, the radar offers advantages in terms of scalability and is incorporated with gallium nitride-based AESA semiconductor technology that enables 360° active electronically scanned array capability.
Last up, the Large Surface Combatant should start getting some meat on its bones in 2019.
Boxall and company are aiming to put the fleet on a course to buy its cruiser and destroyer replacement in 2023 or 2024, which means a request for information from industry could be in the near future.
What we know is that, like the small surface combatant, the Navy wants commonality with other nodes in the network. That means a similar radar as on FFG(X), the same combat system and as much overlapping equipment as the fleet can manage to tamp down on compatibility issues and on how much specialized training sailors need to be on one platform or another.
President Donald Trump and the first lady quietly swept into Iraq Wednesday to pay a holiday visit to US troops, at last making good on the President's promise to travel to one of the war zones he has derided as costly blunders.
After a secret overnight flight from Washington, the President and Melania Trump touched down onto a darkened air strip at Al Asad Air Base west of Baghdad, the dicey security situation still restricting Trump to a clandestine visit more than 15 years after the American invasion.
He remained on the ground for about three hours, greeting enthusiastic selfie-taking servicemen and women in their dining hall. Photos from the ground showed Trump in a black overcoat and red tie, posing for a picture with troops in fatigues. Melania Trump stood smiling next to him, wearing a mustard-colored blouse.
Trump left behind a slate of troubles in Washington, including a partial government shutdown and an unsteady economy. He's also faced criticism for a series of foreign policy decisions that have left his national security team at odds.
Trump has sought to distance himself from the foreign entanglements he describes as foolhardy mistakes made by his predecessors, including the war in Iraq. He recently ordered a drawdown of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, and a complete withdrawal of 2,000 troops from Syria.
"A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking," Trump said of his decision on Wednesday in remarks to a small group of reporters traveling with him.
He hasn't stated plans for the 5,000 or so American troops in Iraq who returned to the country in 2014 to battle ISIS. Trump said in the country on Wednesday he had no plans to pull troops from Iraq, suggesting the country could be used as a base for potential future missions in Syria.
A day earlier, Trump had told troops via videoconference that the era of heavy US engagement abroad was ending.
"We're, right now, the policemen of the world and we're paying for it," he said on a Christmas call with troops. "And we can be the policemen of the world, but other countries have to help us."
But regardless of whether Trump likes the wars or not, they are now his; the lives of the young men and women stationed abroad subject to his decisions, whims and orders. And as such, the commander in chief was fulfilling what is viewed as an essential duty in paying them a surprise Christmastime visit.
George W. Bush made four trips to Iraq after ordering American troops into the country in 2003. Barack Obama visited once. Both men also traveled multiple times to Afghanistan.
Trump's visit comes at a fraught moment for the President and the military. Trump's defense secretary resigned last week after the Syria troop decision, writing in a departure letter the President deserved a military chief more aligned with his worldview. His replacement, a former Boeing executive, has scant foreign policy or military experience.
Trump had faced scrutiny for putting off a visit to the troops. Privately, he wondered whether such a trip would only serve to highlight wars he does not support and wants to end. But in November, after facing criticism for canceled a visit to a military cemetery in France because of rain, Trump announced he would soon travel to a war zone.
Like presidents before him, Trump's visit was shrouded in secrecy. He departed the White House quietly on Christmas night and details of his travel were very closely held within the West Wing.
A decade-and-a-half after the start of the US war, which has cost nearly 5,000 American troops their lives, Iraq remains a dangerous place.
The American-led invasion in 2003 toppled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, but for several years afterward US troops engaged in extended fighting across the country, battling an insurgency and later sectarian violence. At their peak, US troop levels in Iraq stood near 166,000. After the combat mission ended in 2010, some troops remained behind to help stabilize the country.
Thousands more returned four years later to battle ISIS. Iraq formally declared victory against the terror group a year ago, but US troops have remained to help stabilize regions of the country and train Iraqi soldiers.
Trump criticized his predecessor, Obama, for withdrawing troops too quickly from Iraq, claiming it allowed for ISIS' rise. Obama's administration was unable to strike a deal with the Iraqi government to allow for a residual US force to maintain stability in the country. But in bringing troops home and declaring a formal end to the Iraq War, Obama fulfilled a pledge to voters to end a war that began under Bush.
Trump now finds himself eager to make good on his own promises to wind down US involvement overseas. That's what has driven his recent decisions to take US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan.
But those decisions have been unpopular among even his own national security team, including Defense Secretary James Mattis, who resigned last week. He was followed out the exit by Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition who Trump claims not to know.
They and other officials warned Trump that leaving the region now would allow for ISIS, or another terror group, to regain a foothold. But the President was insistent that the time had come for US personnel to come home.
All good news.Defense News said:PARIS – The U.S. Navy is pushing to deploy its new over-the-horizon anti-ship missile by late next year, months ahead of its original target date, according to industry executives familiar with the initiative.
The service selected Kongsberg and Raytheon’s Naval Strike Missile as its first new anti-ship missile in decades earlier this year for it littoral combat ship over-the-horizon missile, giving the LCS much-needed teeth as it operates inside Russian and Chinese anti-access envelopes. With the first major deployments of the ships in years planned for 2019, the surface Navy is in a full-court press to accelerate and integrate the new missile on the ship, months ahead of its original target date.
“In that initial over-the-horizon award for LCS, the installation timeline was on a two-year delivery cycle,” said Octavio Babuca, who works on business development for NSM, during an interview at the Euronaval naval trade show in Paris. “But we are now working with the Navy to support an accelerated timeline to the deploying to littoral combat ships. That is mid-to-late 2019 time window.”
The Navy exercised a contract option on the missile that supported the accelerated integration and deployment of the missile, Babuca said.
Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for small combatants and ship systems, said his company was working toward integrating the Naval Strike Missile into LCS-7, the Detroit.
"We are working right now to put the Naval Strike Missile on LCS-7, he said, “in support of an upcoming deployment. That’s going to be a fleet decision but we are doing all the design work now to put the missile on the ship.”
The NSM is slated for the LCS but also will be integrated into the Navy’s future frigate, the FFG(X).
In 2016, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson ordered the surface navy to reorganize the littoral combat ship program after a disastrous nine-month span between late 2015 and 2016 that saw mechanical breakdowns on four of the six LCS then in service, some caused by sailor errors.
Surface Navy Boss Vice Adm. Richard Brown told Defense News in August that the program was closing in on getting LCS deployed on a regular basis, and that this would begin at some point next year.
“We are on track with the 2016 [chief of naval operations] review of the LCS … and I think we will see the first deployments next year and then happening continuously after that,” said Brown, who heads Naval Surface Force Pacific. “I will have the ships through their maintenance, and the blue crews and gold crews through their basic phase to support deployments next year. So, that’s really exciting — something we’ve been driving towards for a long time.”
The deployments will be closely watched as the oft-criticized program looks to shake off years of doubts, delays and scrutiny and start performing missions that have been under-served since the last small surface combatants — the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates — left the service in 2015.
coupla points to consider:
I could go on in my comfortable chair, but I prefer to wait for the next Pentagon budget
- targeting (what radar, illuminator, ...) by vessels whose primary role is to get Marines ashore
- tracking (what volume-search radar etc.)
- CONOPS (would convoying be still needed for them IF ADDITIONAL BILLIONS WERE SPENT? yes/no under what threat level?)
I ask you if what you've described is good news, really, Jeff?