Monday, May 25, 2009
General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) laid the keel for the future USS Spruance (DDG 111) during a brief ceremony May 14 at the BIW shipyard in Bath, Maine. The 900-ton keel unit represents the first "ultra" module to be fabricated in BIW's Ultra Hall facility that opened last year. Ultra Hall stretches 1.5 acres and allows workers to complete construction, pre-outfitting and testing more efficiently and in a controlled climate. Ultra Hall has enabled BIW workers to complete installation of thousands of feet of cable, compartment air tests, water-tight door testing and pipe segment testing which are all normally completed in later stages of construction. The keel module is the most pre-outfitted and tested at this stage in construction to date. These advancements will be used in future Arleigh Burke- (DDG 51) and Zumwalt- (DDG 1000) class ship construction, which will ultimately lower production costs. USS Spruance will be the 61st Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and the 30th built by BIW. The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.USS Spruance will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare. The ship can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups or amphibious ready groups. The ship's combat system centers around the Aegis combat system and the SPY-lD(V), multi-function phased array radar. Bath Iron Works expects to deliver USS Spruance to the United States Navy in the fall of 2010. The Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships manages the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships and is currently acquiring 11 major ship classes and a variety of small boats and craft. These platforms range from major warships such as frontline surface combatants and amphibious assault ships to air-cushioned landing craft, oceanographic research ships and special warfare craft. Since its creation in November 2002, PEO Ships has delivered 31 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 20 shipyards and boat builders across the United States.