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Bath Iron Works marks DDG 111 keel laying with first 'Ultra' unit

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Bath Iron Works (General Dynamics)
: 21 May, 2009  (New Product)
Representatives of the U.S. Navy and Bath Iron Works recently participated in a brief shipyard ceremony to mark the keel laying of Spruance (DDG 111), BIW's 33rd DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
The Spruance keel unit, a 900-ton ship module, had earlier been moved to its shipbuilding station on BIW's Land Level Transfer Facility (LLTF) using multiple self-propelled mobile transporters. This module, the first in BIW's 124-year history to encompass the full girth of the ship, from the keel to the weather deck, is also the first Ultra Unit to be completed in the shipyard's new Ultra Hall facility which opened in 2008.

The 1.5 acre Ultra Hall allows BIW to accomplish significantly more construction, preoutfitting and testing of ship units indoors in climate-controlled conditions that enhance workforce safety and productivity. Since inaugurating its LLTF in 2001, the shipyard has steadily increased the size and content of its ship modules, which has improved shipyard efficiency and produced significant cost savings for the U. S. Navy. The Spruance keelunit represents the next major step in the shipyard's commitment to construct high-quality, affordable ships.

Major 'firsts' achieved in the construction of the Spruance keel unit included installing thousands of feet of cable, completing compartment air tests, verifying integrity of water tight doors, and completing pipe segment testing within the unit. All of these activities have traditionally been accomplished in later stages of construction.

This ship module is the most completely preoutfitted and tested unit yet constructed at the shipyard. These advances in production capability are moving the shipyard toward even greater efficiencies on DDG 112, the last ship of this class currently under contract, and are paving the way for efficient construction of DDG 1000, the first ship of the Zumwalt class destroyer, which is now in its early stages.

DDG 111 is named to honor Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN, whose calm and decisive leadership at the Battle of Midway contributed to the pivotal American victory. Leading Task Force 16 during the battle, with two aircraft carriers, Spruance's disposition of forces and management of available aircraft proved to be brilliant. His decisions during that action were
important to its outcome, which changed the course of the war with Japan. Spruance (DDG 111) is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy in the fall of 2010.
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