The US Navy is to switch materials used in the construction of the last Zumwalt class destroyer after concerns at the high cost of composites used to build the superstructure of the first two ships. The subsequent award of a US$212 million contract to Bath Iron Works for the design and build of a steel deckhouse and hangar, and construction of aft Peripheral Vertical Launching System (PVLS) modules for the future USS Lyndon B Johnson (DDG 1002), has worrying implications for the future of rival Huntington Industries’ composites facility.

Naval architects have compensated for the additional weight of the steel by making weight savings elsewhere in the overall design. The Zumwalt class deckhouse incorporates the ship’s bridge, radars, antennas and intake/exhaust systems and an enclosed hangar designed to accommodate two medium-size MH-60R helicopters.


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