Navy goes from composites to steel for DDG 1002 deckhouse

Ingalls hangarAUGUST 5, 2013 — The Navy is switching from composites to steel for the superstructure of DDG 1002, the third Zumalt class destroyer. Though the hulls for all three Zumwalts are being built by GD Bath Iron Works shipyard, the Zumwalt (DDG 1000) and Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) are being built with composite superstructures and hangars, chosen their lighter weight, manufactured at Huntington Ingalls Composites Center of Excellence in Gulfport, Miss.

DDG 1001 composites hangar

The Navy was apparently unhappy with the costs of the composite structures and in a January 3 solicitation, NAVSEA said it had "a potential requirement for design and construction of a steel deckhouse and hangar superstructure, and aft peripheral vertical launching system (PVLS) modules for DDG-1002 ... [as] an alternative to construction of composite deckhouse, composite hangar and aft PVLS for DDG-1002 ..."

According to defense media, NAVSEA has found ways to compensate for the additional weight of the steel superstructure by making weight savings elsewhere in the ship and on Friday the Navy announce that GD Bath Iron Works Corp., is being awarded "a $212,000,000 fixed-price incentive (firm target) Navy contract for the design and construction of a steel superstructure (deckhouse and hangar) and construction of an aft peripheral vertical launching system for DDG 1002, the third Zumalt class destroyer.

"Work will be performed in Bath, Maine (80.5 percent), Corona, Calif. (4.1 percent), Coatesville, Pa. (2.6 percent), South Portland, Maine (1.4 percent) and other various locations with less than one percent (11.4 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2016. Fiscal 2010 and 2013 shipbuilding and conversion, Navy funding in the amount of $212,000,000 will be obligated at the time of the award; none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

"This contract was a limited competition solicited via Federal Business Opportunities. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-11-C-2306)."

Loss of the DDG 1002 superstructure work raises major questions about the future of the HHI composites facility.