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IIW Begins Fabrication On Aegis Flight IIA Destroyers

Bath Iron Works Corporation BIW) has begun fabrication on the irst Aegis Flight IIA variant of the Vrleigh Burke-class guided missile lestroyers. This ship, named Oscar iustin (DDG 79) after a marine who eceived the Congressional Medal of Honor for giving his life in Vietnam, is the 29th of 57 ships in this class currently planned by the Navy. As lead yard for design and construction of the Burke destroyers, BIW has received contracts for 19 destroyers and has delivered nine of these ships. Oscar Austin is the shipyard's 16th DDG to begin fabrication. Construction of this ship will continue over the next two years, with launch scheduled for September 1998, and delivery for February 2000.

The most significant difference between the Flight IIA variant and other destroyers being is the addition of twin helicopter capability.

This change requires dual helicopter hangars above the main deck, additional accommodations for air crew, aircraft handling systems and ammunition storage facilities to allow embarked helicopters to be deployed with the ship.

Internal changes in the Flight IIA ship have also been incorporated. Approximately 30 percent of the ship has been redesigned to upgrade many of the structural, piping, electrical and ventilation systems and components. In addition, many traditional MILSPEC components have been replaced with commercial offthe- shelf (COTS) components to reduce costs.

Another significant change involves the Flight IIA ship design process. For what is reportedly the first time ever, a U.S. Navy surface combatant design has been developed almost exclusively using 3-D computer aided design (CAD). This technology reportedly allows BIW designers to visualize the product on the computer screen, using live walk-throughs" and demonstrations to determine optimal solutions for human engineering and interference- free design.

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