The Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), the largest shipbuilder in the USA, and a global, all-domain defense partner has recently received approval as a vendor to provide additively manufactured components to Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) platforms. The certification enables NNS to use additive manufacturing to fabricate pipe fittings or other potential components for use on aircraft carriers, submarines, and other NAVSEA platforms.
“Innovation is driving our business transformation at Newport News Shipbuilding,” said Dave Bolcar, Vice President of Engineering and Design at NNS. “Our continued advances in additive manufacturing are revolutionizing naval engineering and shipbuilding. This will continue to propel our progress in efficiency, safety, and affordability as we remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the critical ships our Navy needs to protect peace around the world.”
In 2018, NAVSEA approved the technical standards for 3D printing after extensive collaboration with HII and industry partners that involved the rigorous printing of test parts and materials, extensive development of an engineered test program, and the publishing of the results.
The first 3D printed metal part, a piping assembly, was delivered to the US Navy for installation on the NNS-built USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), in January 2019. Since then, NNS has received approval for several other metal 3D printed parts on US Navy ships of varying criticality.
This most recent certification is for stainless steel (316/316L grade) additively manufactured pipe fittings. NNS is also pursuing approvals that will enable broader use and implementation of additive manufacturing across the naval enterprise. The highly digitized process could lead to cost savings and reduced production schedules for naval ships.
NNS is the only builder and refueler of nuclear-powered US Navy aircraft carriers and one of just two shipyards building nuclear-powered submarines for the US Navy.