Northrup Grumman Maintain Construction Momentum on Cutter

Friday, January 27, 2006
Unit 1120, which will complete the bow section of the first National Security Cutter under construction at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems' Pascagoula facility, was lifted into place this week. According to NSC General Ship Superintendent Royce Winbush, the unit encloses the anchor windlass machinery room and covers the chain lockers area on the cutter. Unit 1120, wieghing 50 tons, was the 44th unit and last hull section erected on the ship.

Northrup Grumman shipbuilders erected the final grand block unit on the U.S. Coast Guard's first Deepwater National Security Cutter. The craft workers constructing Bertholf (WMSL 750), being built at Northrop Grumman Corporation's Pascagoula facility, utilized innovative production techniques to keep the ship on track despite the challenges posed by Tropical Storm Cindy and Hurricanes Dennis and Katrina. "We've battled a few storms, but the diligent work ethic, attention to detail and production efficiencies implemented by our shipbuilding team, have enabled us to maintain great momentum," said Jamie Anton, Northrop Grumman's vice president and general manager of U.S. Coast Guard Programs. "We examined every lesson learned from the entire spectrum of production programs here at Ship Systems. We then implemented metrics and review gates to ensure that we leveraged what we learned. No stone was left unturned. It involved the tools we use, the process improvements implemented and even the way we purchase, track and receive materials. Collectively, these new methods enable a streamlined production process that will benefit every Deepwater ship we build." The shipbuilding team has established a number of industry firsts in the quality of the build. Innovative techniques, such as designing new jigs and fixtures to improve flatness and fit, kept the ship erection sequence on schedule. The team identified particular metrics to improve production cycles, saving both time and cost. Three dimensional modeling aids were created to provide better planning and construction sequencing, which helps avoid rework. A forward-looking material approach provided more rapid support, allowing the construction team to build with no gaps in production. And the team established a high standard of excellence by utilizing shipbuilders who average over 10 years of service -- immediately improving first-time quality shipbuilding unit delivery. This construction quality is equivalent to what normally would be accomplished on the fifth ship in a class of ships. Unit 1120, which completes the ship's bow section, encloses the anchor windlass machinery room and covers the chain lockers area on the ship. The ship is made up of eight grand blocks and this section was the 44th unit erected. The National Security Cutter will be a 418-foot ship with a 4,300-ton displacement at full load. Powered by a twin-screw combined diesel-and-gas turbine-power propulsion plant, the NSC is designed to travel at 28 knots max speed. The cutter will include an aft launch and recovery area for two rigid-hull inflatable boats; a flight deck to accommodate a range of rotary-wing manned and unmanned aircraft and state-of-the-art command-and-control electronics.

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