Newport News Shipbuilding and General Dynamics Electric Boat (GDEB) have integrated a 3D-printed part from AMMCON onto the Virginia-class attack submarine, Oklahoma (SSN 802).
The OEMs of the Virginia class focus on marine-based alloys like copper-nickel, using a 3D-printed copper-and-nickel deck drain assembly as an alternative to traditional castings.
GDEB and HII collaborated with AMMCON to create the 3D-printed part, marking a shift from conventional manufacturing methods.
The US Navy faces operational challenges, with 37% of the SSN fleet unavailable in FY 2023, mainly due to maintenance issues.
14 submarines are undergoing maintenance, and four are described as "idle," contributing to the decline in the ratio of active to inactive submarines compared to FY 2022.
Delays extend to the construction of the Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines, with a projected cost of $132 billion.
GDEB and HII's adoption of 3D printing is seen as a potential solution to delays, offering on-demand and customized delivery of parts and specialized tools.
Advanced manufacturing methods, including 3D printing, are hailed for their potential to save significant man-hours and contribute to technological advancements in naval manufacturing.