First 3-D printed metal part for aircraft carrier delivered to the Navy

NORFOLK, Va. - Naval history was made in Hampton Roads this week when the first 3-D metal printed part to be used on an aircraft carrier was delivered to the Navy.

Newport News Shipbuilding delivered the part to the Navy during a ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk Tuesday.

Rear Admiral Lorin Selby from Naval Sea Systems Command accepted the piece, which will be installed on the Norfolk-based carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

The part is a piping assembly and it will be evaluated on the Truman for one year.

“We are pleased to have worked so closely with our Navy partners to get to the point where the first 3-D metal part will be installed on an aircraft carrier,” said Charles Southall, Newport News’ vice president of engineering and design, in a statement. “The advancement of additive manufacturing will help revolutionize naval engineering and shipbuilding. It also is a significant step forward in our digital transformation of shipbuilding processes to increase efficiency, safety and affordability. This is an accomplishment we all should be proud of.”

The 3-D printed metal part was approved by the Navy in 2018. This particular piece is part of the steam system and allows for the drainage of water from a steam line while in use.

While the Navy has been using 3-D printing for several years, the use for metal parts is still being developed and final requirements are still under review.

The process could lead to cost savings for the Navy and reduced production schedules for ships.

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