Corporation's Gulfport facility joined the company's
Pascagoula, Miss., and New Orleans facilities, by returning to
shipbuilding production this week following three weeks of Hurricane
Katrina recovery efforts.
The facility began the week with positive news as Integrated
Coast Guard Systems (ICGS), a joint venture between Northrop Grumman
and Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT
), successfully achieved the
program design review milestone on the innovative 140-foot fast
response cutter for the U.S. Coast Guard. The composite-hulled ship
will be constructed at Gulfport, known for its productive and
high-quality composite work, and will be the first vessel fully built
and launched at the facility since 1996. Production work is expected to
begin mid-next year.
Gulfport employees reported to work on Monday ready to continue
their composite work for the masts of the amphibious transport dock
ships LPD 20 and LPD 21, along with the composite high-speed vessel
(CHSV) test article being constructed for the Office of Naval Research.
CHSV is not only important to the Office of Naval Research, but to the
fast response cutter program, as it is seen as a "proof of concept"
which will mitigate risks for manufacturing large composite hull forms.
"We are getting back into the business of building ships," said
Phil Teel, ICGS chairman and president of Northrop Grumman's Ship
Systems sector. "I am very proud of this team and the work they have
accomplished to continue development of this program, in service to the
U.S. Coast Guard. When we see what the Coast Guard accomplishes every
day, and particularly over the past three weeks, we are passionate
about pressing onward, working to build the superior capabilities of
this vessel for the fleet."
This is the first major milestone
in the preliminary design
phase of the fast response cutter program. The purpose of the
preliminary design review was to present the ship concept and to
confirm the ship requirements have been sufficiently developed,
including detailed reviews of the hull, mechanical and electrical
design, command, control, communications and computers, intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) and logistics support. ICGS
also presented information on the ship's preliminary operational plans
as an asset in the Integrated Deepwater System.
The next step in the preliminary design phase will be the
critical design review, on track to occur in December or January.
Following this milestone, the fast response cutter could
construction in Gulfport mid-next year. Gulfport built and delivered
four Osprey (MHC 51)-class coastal mine hunters in the mid 1990s.
The fast response cutter has been advanced more than 10 years
ahead of the original Deepwater program timeline
and has been
specifically adapted to meet post-9/11 mission requirements. The vessel
will be made out of glass-reinforced plastic laminate. The fast
response cutter is designed to operate at 30 knots or more, providing
exceptional response and reaction capability. It will have a 40-year
hull life and is being designed from the keel up to be interoperable
within the Deepwater system, with command-and-control capability that
matches the development of the larger National Security Cutter. The
first National Security Cutter is currently under construction at the
company's Pascagoula facility and the second ship will begin
construction this fall.
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems includes primary operations in
Pascagoula and Gulfport, Miss.; and in New Orleans and Tallulah, La.,
as well as in a network of fleet support offices in the U.S. and Japan.
Ship Systems is one of the nation's leading full-service systems
companies for the design, engineering, construction and life-cycle
support of major surface ships for the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and