Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Sperry Marine
business unit has supplied the navigation and communication electronics for a new highly specialized ship that has been designed specifically to convey giant components for Airbus’ next-generation A-380 aircraft.
The new ship, christened Ville de Bordeaux, was built in China’s Jinling shipyard and is being delivered to French shipowner Louis-Dreyfus Armateurs this month. The vessel will fly the French flag and will shuttle among the various Airbus plants
in Europe delivering aircraft parts.
For safe navigation, the ship has been fitted with a complete Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine integrated bridge system, including an electronic chart display and information system, multiple radars, autopilot and steering system, differential GPS, voyage data recorder, automatic identification system, and a communications suite meeting Global Maritime Distress and Safety System requirements. The bridge system integrates all aspects of route planning and navigation, giving the watch officer a clear picture of the ship’s position and movement on an electronic chart that also shows targets from the ship’s radars. The autopilot system incorporates Sperry Marine’s unique self-tuning functionality that automatically adapts to the ship’s loading condition and weather.
The $30 million Ville de Bordeaux is a 154-meter roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) ship with a cruising speed of 21 knots. Owned by Louis-Dreyfus Armateurs through a joint venture with Norway’s Leif Hoegh, the ship has been placed on a 20-year time charter to Airbus. The ship’s cargo spaces have been designed to accommodate an entire A-380 aircraft carried in seven large components. The ship can also function as a conventional ro-ro to carry trucks and cars when not engaged in delivering aircraft parts.