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Ingalls Shipbuilding Delivers Composite Deckhouse

Ingalls Shipbuilding division has delivered the composite deckhouse for the destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000) to the U.S. Navy. The 900-ton deckhouse provides an advanced structure to house the ship’s bridge, radars, antennas and intake/exhaust systems and is designed to provide a significantly smaller radar cross-section than any other ship in today’s fleet.

Ingalls is building the composite deckhouse and hangar for the DDG 1000 class at the company’s Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport. Made almost exclusively using cored composite construction processes, the deckhouse and hangar take full advantage of the properties of carbon fibre materials and balsa wood cores. When cured, the composite structure is as strong as steel but requires little maintenance and is very lightweight. These unique attributes reduce maintenance cost over the life span of the ship due to its corrosion resistance in the marine environment and allow for improved hull stability, more payload and increased ship speeds. The Gulfport facility also builds composite masts for the Navy’s San Antonio (LPD 17) class of amphibious ships.

The deckhouse structure will be integrated to join the other eight of nine “ultra units” making up DDG 1000. This is a process that is similar to the integration process already used with the LPD masts. Steel base plates that are bolted to the composite structure will be welded to the steel hull of DDG 1000. Ingalls delivered the composite hangar and the aft peripheral vertical launch system units for DDG 1000 and has begun work on the composite components for DDG 1001.

The DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer is the U.S. Navy’s next-generation guided-missile destroyer, leading the way for a new generation of advanced, multi-mission surface combat ships. The ships will feature a low radar profile, an integrated power system and a total ship computing environment infrastructure. Armed with an array of weapons, the Zumwalt-class destroyers will provide offensive, distributed and precision fires in support of forces ashore.

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