When Jose Paniagua, general foreman, electrical, came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 2009, he had one goal in mind: establishing a good-paying job so he could bring his wife and two children over to join him. 

Having received electrical training prior, Paniagua started at the company’s Avondale, La. location in 2010, pulling cable before working his way to the Tests and Trials team. In 2013, he moved over to Ingalls in Pascagoula as an electrician, working his way up through different jobs on multiple ships. 

“On each ship, I’ve had a different position,” he explained. “On LPD 23, I was pulling cable. On LPD 25, I was in tests and trials. I was lead man on LPD 26, and then a foreman on LPD 27. Now, on LPD 28, I am a general foreman.” 

Through strong leadership and guidance, Paniagua now helps other electricians find a path to grow their careers.

“Whatever you do, do it with dedication and tenacity. The company can give you all the tools and opportunities but you have to put the work in,” he said. “Everything you do today matters. Be proud of what you do and the product that you build. Show that by doing quality work the first time and being safe while you do it.”

In addition to finding a career at Ingalls, Paniagua has also found a community as a board member for Hispanic Outreach Leadership Alliance (HOLA), giving him the opportunity to help connect other shipbuilders with resources.

With more than 500 job titles to choose from, you can build your own journey. The possibilities are limitless. Ask your supervisor or contact HR for job openings, trainings and growth opportunities, or visit HII’s Careers page to see the available openings. 

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division is celebrating the many shipbuilders who have Hispanic or Latin American roots. 

In addition to acknowledging how these communities have influenced and contributed to American society at large, Ingalls also recognizes the significant impact they have had on building our nation’s naval defense.

Pascagoula, where Ingalls is located, has the highest share of Latino residents among Mississippi’s 20 biggest cities by a significant margin, with 15% of the city’s population identifying as Hispanic or Latino in the 2020 census according to a Sun Herald article

Understanding diversity, equity and inclusion is at the core of what makes the people great at Ingalls Shipbuilding. It’s knowing we are stronger when we acknowledge and celebrate our differences, giving each of us a place to belong.

Employee resource groups like the Hispanic Outreach Leadership Alliance (HOLA), shine a light on our diversity and give shipbuilders a means to build community.

Recently, HOLA participated in the Festival Hispano de Pascagoula. Board members and volunteers with HOLA helped organize food, music, vendors and more for the festival to kickoff Hispanic Heritage Month. 

At the event, talent acquisition representatives were also present, offering information and job offers to those interested in becoming shipbuilders. 

Watch this video to learn how Ingalls Shipbuilding is celebrating the many shipbuilders who have Hispanic or Latin American roots.

“The people I have worked with at Ingalls have helped me a lot on my journey because my English wasn’t the greatest in the beginning,” he recalled. “I had a lot of good people around me that helped me to grow both personally and as a shipbuilder.”

Hector Maldonado, general foreman, Ingalls Shipbuilding

Desliza hacia abajo para leer esta historia en español.

Ingalls is a place of opportunity for the many aspiring shipbuilders who are looking to turn their skillsets into a career. For Hector Maldonado, general foreman, working at Ingalls has provided the opportunity for a career and for growth as a leader.”

Maldonado moved to the United States from Puerto Rico at the age of 20 to find work as a subcontractor. It’s a journey he made without his family.

“It was really scary leaving my family and going alone to the United States for the first time,” said Maldonado. “My mother was really scared for me but she relaxed a little because I was coming over with good people and I had a job lined up.”

After spending time working as a subcontractor at Ingalls, Maldonado was offered a full-time position with the company. As his shipbuilding career began, so did his opportunities for personal growth and development.

“The people I have worked with at Ingalls have helped me a lot on my journey because my English wasn’t the greatest in the beginning,” he recalled.  “I had a lot of good people around me that helped me to grow both personally and as a shipbuilder.”

Since being hired on as a first-class electrician at Ingalls, Maldonado has progressed in his roles He is now a general foreman, overseeing the team that delivers the finished product to the customer. Currently, he is working on finalizing DDG 125.

“As a general foreman, I make sure everybody is working safely and maintaining quality the first time,” he said.

After experiencing his own success within the company, Maldonado now uses his story of persevering through language barriers to inspire and uplift the next generation of shipbuilders, especially those who do not speak English as a first language.

“Having a language barrier was particularly challenging to me as I started out in this industry,” he recalled. “Now, I want to help others who are going through similar experiences and who want to eventually move up in the company. I want to help them be successful.”

Maldonado encourages shipbuilders to take advantage of the knowledge they can gain from working at Ingalls so that they can advance their career paths, as well.

“My advice to new shipbuilders who want to grow in this company is to start learning and never stop,” he said. “Ask questions, take advantage of training opportunities, and always give 100 percent effort. Learn to be good at what you do and go beyond the bare minimum.”

With more than 500 job titles to choose from, you can build your own journey. The possibilities are limitless. Ask your supervisor or contact HR for job openings, trainings and growth opportunities, or click here to see the available openings: CARE| HII

EN ESPAÑOL

Héctor Maldonado, capataz general eléctrico, Ingalls Shipbuilding
Héctor Maldonado, capataz general eléctrico, Ingalls Shipbuilding

“La gente con la que a trabajé en Ingalls me ayudó mucho en mi viaje porque mi inglés no era muy bueno al principio,” recordó. “Tenía mucha gente buena a mi alrededor que me ayudó a crecer tanto personalmente como como constructor naval.”

Héctor Maldonado, capataz general eléctrico, Ingalls Shipbuilding

Ingalls es un lugar de oportunidades para muchos aspirantes a constructores navales que buscan convertir sus habilidades en una carrera. Para Héctor Maldonado, capataz general eléctrico, trabajar en Ingalls ha brindado la oportunidad de hacer carrera y crecer como líder.”

Maldonado se mudó a los Estados Unidos desde Puerto Rico a la edad de 20 años para encontrar trabajo como subcontratista. Es un viaje que hizo sin su familia.

“Fue realmente aterrador dejar a mi familia e ir sola a los Estados Unidos por primera vez,” dijo Maldonado. “Mi madre estaba realmente asustada por mí, pero se relajó un poco porque venía con buenas personas y tenía un trabajo listo.”

Después de pasar un tiempo trabajando como subcontratista en Ingalls, a Maldonado le ofrecieron un puesto de tiempo completo en la empresa. A medida que comenzó su carrera en la construcción naval, también lo hicieron sus oportunidades de crecimiento y desarrollo personal.

“La gente con la que a trabajé en Ingalls me ayudó mucho en mi viaje porque mi inglés no era muy bueno al principio,” recordó. “Tenía mucha gente buena a mi alrededor que me ayudó a crecer tanto personalmente como como constructor naval.”

Desde que fue contratado como electricista de primera clase en Ingalls, Maldonado ha progresado en sus funciones. Ahora es capataz general y supervisa el equipo que entrega el producto terminado al cliente. Actualmente, está trabajando en la finalización del DDG 125.

“Como capataz general, me aseguro de que todos trabajen de manera segura y mantengan la calidad desde la primera vez,” dijo.

Después de experimentar su propio éxito dentro de la empresa, Maldonado ahora usa su historia de perseverancia a través de las barreras del idioma para inspirar y animar a la próxima generación de constructores navales, especialmente a aquellos que no hablan inglés como primera lengua.

“Tener una barrera del idioma fue particularmente desafiante para mí cuando comencé en esta industria,” recordó. “Ahora, quiero ayudar a otras personas que están pasando por experiencias similares y que eventualmente quieren ascender en la empresa. Quiero ayudarlos a tener éxito.”

Maldonado alienta a los constructores navales a aprovechar el conocimiento que pueden obtener al trabajar en Ingalls para que también puedan avanzar en sus carreras.

“Mi consejo para los nuevos constructores navales que quieren crecer en esta empresa es que empiecen a aprender y nunca se detengan,” dijo. “Haga preguntas, aproveche las oportunidades de capacitación y siempre esfuércese al 100 por ciento. Aprende a ser bueno en lo que haces y ve más allá de lo mínimo.”

Con más de 500 títulos de trabajo para elegir, puede construir su propio viaje. Las posibilidades son ilimitadas. Pregúntele a su supervisor o comuníquese con Recursos Humanos para conocer las vacantes, capacitaciones y oportunidades de crecimiento, o haga clic aquí para ver las vacantes disponibles: CARE| HII

About HII

HII is an all-domain defense and technologies partner, recognized worldwide as America’s largest shipbuilder. With a 135-year history of trusted partnerships in advancing U.S. national security, HII delivers critical capabilities ranging from the most powerful and survivable naval ships ever built, to unmanned systems, ISR and AI/ML analytics. HII leads the industry in mission-driven solutions that support and enable an all-domain force. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s skilled workforce is 44,000 strong. For more information, visit:

Two welders at Newport News Shipbuilding are preparing to display their skills at the Aug. 27 keel laying ceremony for Enterprise (CVN 80) – and they are proud to share the spotlight.

Ephony King and Jonathan Rishor have been selected to weld the initials of the ship’s two sponsors, Olympians Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles, onto steel plates that will be affixed to the Ford-class aircraft carrier.

Any job requires preparation and practice, but that’s especially true when you’re in front of hundreds of people and a livestream audience. King and Rishor say they’ll be ready.

“We’re going to get it right before we get there,” said King, a five-year NNS employee and recent graduate of The Apprentice School.

“It’s going to turn out great. I know it will,” added Rishor, who has worked at NNS for more than five years.

Both welders have been given writing samples. King will weld the initials of gymnast Biles, whose handwriting “is all waves,” King said.

Rishor will handle Ledecky’s initials. The standout swimmer’s writing includes an intricate G – her middle name is Genevieve – that will require practice, said Rishor.

In a nod to history, the two steel plates that will display the sponsors’ initials come from the former Enterprise (CVN 65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier now inactive and moored at NNS.

Rishor served in the Navy and recalled a memorable moment involving CVN 65. In 2012, as CVN 65 headed home on its final deployment, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) relieved the ship. Rishor worked on the Ike’s flight deck, and as the two giants passed in the Atlantic Ocean, “I had the best seat in the house.”

King and Rishor were selected for the keel laying ceremony based on their consistent, quality performance.

Foreman Richard Watson said he tapped Rishor because he “is dependable, takes pride in his work and goes above and beyond to produce a first-time quality product.”

On being selected, Rishor said, “I feel honored, for sure.”

Foreman John Harrell said picking King was an easy choice. “The first person I thought of was Ms. King,” he said. “Every day she comes in, she welds works of art.”

King plans to make the most of the moment. “It’s not every day you get recognized for your talent,” she said.

About HII

HII is an all-domain defense and technologies partner, recognized worldwide as America’s largest shipbuilder. With a 135-year history of trusted partnerships in advancing U.S. national security, HII delivers critical capabilities ranging from the most powerful and survivable naval ships ever built, to unmanned systems, ISR and AI/ML analytics. HII leads the industry in mission-driven solutions that support and enable an all-domain force. Headquartered in Virginia, HII’s skilled workforce is 44,000 strong. For more information, visit:

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Unlike a weapon that can be tested, validated, and put on a shelf knowing that it will work when needed, deployed information warfare and cyber capabilities have to be continually tuned and optimized in order to be relevant to the warfighter.

The following article was published Aug. 16, 2022 on Breaking Defense. 

As the United States and its allies move from almost a quarter century of focus on the Global War on Terrorism, and shift to the new realities as specified in the current National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — which authorizes funding levels and provides authorities for the U.S. military and other critical defense priorities — so too must technology and capability adapt and align to the new operational environment. Cyber and information warfare will take greater precedence than ever before as the NDAA outlines the threat environment.

How then can cyberspace operation (CO) and information warfare (IW) capabilities best align to support and enable multi-domain operations across a wide spectrum of threats, while at the same time ensuring safety and security of critical infrastructure and assets? On one hand, CO and IW must operate in a Phase 0, or “left of boom” non-kinetic environment to help shape, deter, defend, and inform, while at the same time posturing to ensure combatant commander and National Command Authority (NCA) freedom of maneuver in cyberspace while denying adversaries the same, should hostilities begin.

Full spectrum CO and IW contain numerous supporting efforts, to include cyber or computer network operations (CNO), signals intelligence (SIGINT), information operations (IO), electronic warfare (EW), as well as other various supporting disciplines such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, big data and data science, and the use of publicly available information (PAI). All combine to ensure information advantage and decision dominance for the commander within the Joint Information Environment (JIE) and across the traditional operational maneuver domains of air, land, sea, space, and cyber. The really interesting challenge, then, is to fuse all of this immense stand-alone capability in time to be relevant and deliver effects as needed.

To ensure commander freedom of maneuver in the JIE and drive information advantage and decision dominance, Army Cyber Command has created new capability and capacity in the form of unique new units and commands; this is in addition to the already established Cyber Mission Force. A recent example is the 915th Cyberwarfare Battalion — the first organic, scalable expeditionary Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA) capability — which is providing commanders a new tactical tool with the ability to deny, degrade, disrupt, destroy, deceive, influence, shape, and manipulate the capabilities and decisions of adversaries.

“Whether it be deterrence in the early competition phase or dominance throughout conflict, the invisible, complex, and congested electromagnetic spectrum will be where future battles are won or lost,” states the Cybersecurity and Information Systems Information Analysis Center (CSIAC), a component of the Defense Department’s Information Analysis Center enterprise.

Our adversaries are no longer “just” terrorist cells in the desert operating off of a pay phone or an Internet cafe. Rather, U.S. forces need to be prepared for much higher sophistication and maturity of cyber and EW capabilities.

“I wasn’t worried about ISIL breaking into this conversation and listening to us talking, but I do have to worry about peer and near-peer adversaries having the capability to do just that,” said Jack Koons, senior principal solutions architect for Cyberwarfare and Information Warfare within HII (better known until recently as Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest shipbuilder in the U.S. and the builder of the under-construction Ford-class aircraft carriers that are the first to be fully digitally designed.).

“You now have to operate with an ‘assume breach’ mentality, that any platform that you’re using for communications or for network access is potentially compromised at the very least, exploited at the worst. I may have to work in degraded operations or constrained environments, or lose primary access. So you need to have B, C, and D fallback plans to cover gaps, extend operational reach and access, and ensure freedom of maneuver for the combatant commander in the information environment.” In a word, cyber must provide options.

The challenge faced by U.S. and allied forces has been on full display in Ukraine. Prior to Russian forces mounting their kinetic attack, they unleashed a slew of cyberattacks to weaken Ukraine’s posture and take its focus off of the mounting physical forces that were about to cross the border.

“In the case of Ukraine, General Paul Nakasone (U.S. Cyber Command commander and NSA director) has said that we have deployed expeditionary cyber warfare elements into theater to support them,” observed Ron Fodor, operations manager for HII’s Cyber, EW & Space business. “What’s interesting is that we’re seeing the convergence of the cognitive, the physical, and the virtual space.”

 

Ron Fodor, operations manager for HII’s Cyber, EW & Space business.
Jack Koons, senior principal solutions architect for Cyberwarfare and Information Warfare within HII.
Jack Koons, senior principal solutions architect for Cyberwarfare and Information Warfare within HII.

Challenges for the warfighter and for industry

Of the five previously mentioned operational domains, cyberspace is unique in that it exists in an artificial world. Air, land, sea, and space are all naturally occurring environments. As such, certain challenges arise when one considers the operational considerations associated with offensive, defensive, and maneuver operations in cyberspace.

“We literally have to build the transport mechanisms and infrastructure to get from point A to point B. And then, in a peer-to-peer environment, or 2+3 strategy, this is fully contested every step of the way. You’re under attack while you’re building this transport mechanism and spectrum. You may lose pieces or linkage, and then you have to adjust. Cyberspace is a living, breathing thing,” said Koons.

That means speed to market for cybersecurity capabilities and technologies is critical. It’s not like a weapon that can be tested, validated, and put on a shelf knowing that it will work when needed. When a cyber capability is deployed, it has to change as the network changes.

“You never get to come off the gas pedal with this capability,” said Koons, a retired Army cyberwarfare officer with 25 years working cyber issues with U.S. national intelligence, Special Operations, and cyber communities. “Once it’s deployed, it has to be continually tuned and optimized in order to be relevant to the warfighter.”

Another difference in the cyber domain that doesn’t exist in the other warfighting domains is that the pace of operations is much faster because it’s all computer and network based.

“We’re talking nanoseconds to microseconds to seconds, whereas in the kinetic world it’s days, weeks, months, and years,” said Fodor, a former officer in the U.S. Air Force. “Look at the Ukraine crisis; it started in February and it’s still happening today. A cyber operation goes off in an instant. Enemies find access to your system, exploit your systems, position an implant, and exfiltrate data within the matter of minutes.”

 

HII’s expertise ranges from building aircraft carriers and developing unmanned systems and advanced C5ISR solutions to conducting full-spectrum cyber operations. Image courtesy of HII.

Nearly $1 billion in recent contracts supporting DoD cyber

With more than 100 facilities worldwide, Virginia-based HII has become a trusted DoD partner developing integrated solutions that address the challenges just described while enabling today’s connected, all-domain force. Capabilities include: C5ISR systems and operations; the application of AI and machine learning to battlefield decisions; defensive and offensive cyberspace operations; electronic warfare; space systems; unmanned autonomous systems; live, virtual, and constructive simulation; as well as the naval construction/overhaul/modernization and critical nuclear operations that HII is so well known for.

Those capabilities will play important roles in helping HII execute two recent contracts with the government. Under the $826 million Decisive Mission Actions and Technology Services (DMATS) task order awarded by the General Services Administration in August, HII will provide threat and specialized analysis and analytics support, as well as operations integration and operational effects support. It will benefit all DoD service components, component research labs, components of the DoD Fourth Estate, national intelligence agencies, and combatant commands.

Also in August, HII was awarded a $127 million task order to support the Defense Security Cooperation Agency to perform research, development, test and evaluation of emerging technologies. Under the task order, HII will enhance the functionality and capability of systems integration through the development of software and hardware capabilities, systems engineering, research and analysis. That support will develop and create new knowledge for the enhancement of the Defense Technical Information Center repository, as well as the R&D and science and technology communities

In recent years, HII has embarked on a program of acquisitions that have bolstered its portfolio of capabilities within its Mission Technologies division in targeted areas of importance to the DoD. This includes:

  • The acquisition in 2021 of Alion Science and Technology, which provides advanced engineering and R&D services in the areas of ISR, military training and simulation, and cyber and data analytics.
  • Commonwealth Technology Innovation, an HII company that has advanced engineering tools and prototyping labs where integrated product development teams can evaluate concepts and quickly deliver solutions to the field, including intelligence solutions, integrated sensing, and SIGINT technology; and
  • Enlighten, another HII company, is a subject matter expert on the Big Data Platform (BDP) and big data analytics.

“None of the cybersecurity and EW challenges that the DoD is facing are new to HII,” said Koons. “We understand the rigorous process that goes into building exquisite technologies. I would argue that we build the most complex, technically advanced, most powerful systems on the face of the Earth. And, perhaps, the most sophisticated and sensitive piece of technology on an aircraft carrier or an attack submarine is the nuclear, electronics, and cyber systems. Not only do those systems have to be built to rigorous government standards, they have to be done in a very small form factor. There are very few organizations that can do all that organically and do it on a daily basis.”

HII Moves the Needle

With expertise that ranges from building aircraft carriers and developing unmanned systems and advanced C5ISR solutions to conducting full-spectrum cyber operations, HII is a company of companies.

“It comes down to three things,” said Koons, “people, processes, and technologies. We have an entire workforce that is heavily weighted on military veterans so many of us come from the community. Then we have depth and breadth across all engineering disciplines, and across program and project-management disciplines to build and deploy systems fast.”

It goes back to HII’s philosophy of putting technology professionals in positions of responsibility and leadership within the company to drive investment so that it’s ready for what comes next.

“We see the way that the domain, the science, and the technology are changing, and we position ourselves by investing in technologies that we think are going to be relevant to the future of cyber warfare and information operations,” said Fodor. “We’re moving away from the days of the Global War on Terror and effects-based cyber operations to more sophisticated, holistic, and fused operational environments to produce an effect on an adversary — whether that effect is kinetic or not.”

The goal of most military organizations is not to be forced to deploy forces and use kinetic weapons. The goal is to avoid that, going back to a Sun Tzu military strategy on the importance of deterrence that is doubly true today: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Wars are sometimes won long before they’re fought, and helping to make that true for the DoD through the use of cyber and the electromagnetic spectrum operations is a key part of what drives HII today.

More than half a century ago, a sailor named Dave Williams boarded Enterprise (CVN 65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, as a member of the original crew.

He was onboard when the ship responded to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Later, Williams left the Navy and came to work at Newport News Shipbuilding. But he maintained a relationship with his beloved ship. He worked on CVN 65 various times as shipbuilder, sometimes when it was docked in Norfolk, other times flying across the country or halfway around the world to give it needed attention.

Today, as a new Enterprise (CVN 80) comes to life at NNS, the Williams family is as involved as ever.

Dave’s son, Mike “Chilly” Williams (X36), is among thousands of shipbuilders working on the third Gerald R. Ford-class carrier. Given his family ties, this is much more than a job.

“It’s kind of like a full circle,” said Williams, a lead crane rigger. “That’s how my dad’s career started. He finished up his career at NNS on CVN 65. I’ve already been here 33 years, and toward the end of my career, I’ll be on CVN 80.”

Mike Williams was familiar with Enterprise lore at an early age. His father had a nautical-themed room and photos of CVN 65 on the wall.

“The Enterprise was always an important part of his life, so it was an important part of our lives because of that,” he said.

Dave Williams put aside active-duty service in the Navy to raise his family, but his love for the Navy never waned. In the late 1970s, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve and later retired as a chief petty officer.

When he did his two weeks of active duty at Naval Station Norfolk close to where CVN 65 was docked, while his crew was working on the ship, they got to see their boss in his sailor whites. It earned him the nickname “Sailor Bob.”

Mike Williams came to the shipyard in 1989 and dad, an X11 supervisor, didn’t retire until 2010. He has since passed away, but they managed to work together on the waterfront at times, including when CVN 65 returned to NNS at various times.

Because Mike Williams works in new carrier construction, CVN 80 is now part of his responsibility. “I’m just in the right place,” he said.

You can read more stories like this in NNS Currents

HII showcased the company’s advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) and unmanned/autonomous capabilities for the special operations community at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC 2022).

HII highlighted solutions that will provide enhanced situational awareness and intelligence analysis for Special Operations for both counterterrorism operations and potential conflicts against near-peer adversaries.

“The Special Operations community is seeking to use, influence and shape intelligence, and HII is prepared to provide the artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that deliver multi-lingual search, understanding of a population sentiment, and help to identify false narratives while delivering results at near-real time," said Steven Moore, director of Artificial Intelligence Solutions at HII’s Mission Technologies division.

HII also featured the company’s unique capabilities in unmanned and autonomous platforms which are critical to the future of special operations missions.

Sofic+adm+green+01 Hero

Vice Adm. Collin Green, deputy commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, views a demonstration of HII artificial intelligence platforms that distill and curate the most meaningful data for near real time missions.

HII demonstrations at SOFIC included:

Tactical Edge Sensing and Process

HII’s Nano Cricket technology brings modular, open, high performance computer hardware to the tactical edge, enabling the rapid collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination of tactical data.

AI-Powered Analytics

Ranked as a top 10 federal AI contractor, HII’s AI platforms are market leading analytics solutions designed for enterprise scale and can distill massive data sets to extract the most meaningful information at near real time.

Unmanned Systems

HII is a world leading unmanned systems company with advanced autonomy capabilities for unmanned surface vessels, unmanned ground vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Odyssey, a Suite of Advanced Autonomy Solutions for Platforms in All Domains

HII launched Odyssey™, a suite of advanced autonomy solutions that can turn any vehicle or ship in any domain into an intelligent, robotic platform. Odyssey capabilities include multi-vehicle collaborative autonomy, autonomous health monitoring, sensor fusion and perception.

At HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, a new pier now under construction in the North Yard will be a crucial piece in the Columbia-Class Submarine Program, where Newport News plays a major supporting role. Construction began about a year ago on the pier, which is just north of Dry Dock 12. It will allow NNS to load Columbia submarine modules onto a barge for transport to General Dynamics Electric Boat, the prime contractor for the program. But that simple description doesn’t do justice to the complexity and breadth of this project. It’s been a rewarding experience for Aaron T. Kenny, the O41 facilities engineer overseeing the work. “We’re building the largest modules we’ve ever shipped out, and we’re utilizing a whole new design for something to carry these modules,” he said. “The engineering being done is amazing.” The new pier will accommodate an Electric Boat barge that is nearly 400 feet long, big enough to carry modules for what will be the Navy’s largest-ever submarine. 

Once assembled, Columbia-class submarines will be slightly longer than the Washington Monument is tall. The barge will not use typical mooring lines to remain at the pier. As Kenny explained, the barge has two transom arms that will lock the barge into place. A pair of pins embedded in the pier will work in concert with the transom arms. The modules will be moved from the Joint Manufacturing Assembly Facility (JMAF), transported down 65th Street and carefully rolled on the barge, which has a series of ballast tanks for stability and proper weight distribution. That entire process will take a full day, Kenny said. Columbia-class submarines are a priority for the Navy. 

They will replace the aging Ohio-class submarines as the most survivable leg of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. The program is high profile, and NNS’ new pier is gradually getting attention, too. The pier work is one of several expansion projects taking place at NNS. Its construction can be seen when crossing the James River Bridge, and Kenny said they regularly get questions about the pier. “We get a lot of people taking a look at it,” he said. “It is definitely fascinating to be a part of the Columbia program and getting those modules up to our partners at Electric Boat.”

You can find more on this project and other news from Newport News Shipbuilding in this week’s Currents.

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Satellite: GALAXY 17 (91 degrees west)      

Transponder: Ku Digital 10 – Ch.C (9 Mhz)

Downlink Frequency: 11904.5 

Downlink Polarity: Vertical

FEC: 2/3

Symbol Rate: 7.5

DVBS2, 8PSK TRANSMISSION, 4:2:0, 1080i

Window: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 19

Note: The six minute video that begins the ceremonial keel laying for Arkansas (SSN 800) includes copyrighted materials from HII/Newport News Shipbuilding and others.

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