The CVN 21 Concept Exploration project provided a series of concepts for potential ManTech funding in support of the CVN 21 class of ships as well as technical work to support well-defined, near-term metalworking needs for CVN 78 (the first ship in the CVN 21 class). Efforts included evaluation and testing of one-sided welding, thick-section HSLA-65 welding, cold / hot forming limits for HSLA-65, flame straightening, LASCOR panels, friction stir welding, and a fire-resistant door.
The project considered only those concepts that were expected to impact cost and performance of CVN 21 while meeting the projected implementation schedule. The results of this project will lead to technologies that contribute to reduced ship weight and/or improved center of gravity. Direct implementation of the technologies into a production environment will occur through participation of the system integrator.
Concepts were generated from a variety of organizations, including Northrop Grumman Newport News (NGNN), Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), the CVN 21 Program Office, material suppliers, the Navy Metalworking Center (NMC), and others. NGNN focused primarily on construction needs, while NAVSEA and the CVN 21 Program Office considered other system capability enhancements. As necessary, concept exploration included evaluations of potential technologies; visits to potential technology suppliers; and completion of preliminary experiments, technical tasks, trade studies, and material evaluations. During this project, NGNN developed approved procedures for one-sided welding of HSLA-65, thick-section HSLA-65 welding, hot / cold forming of HSLA-65, and the HSLA-65 flame straightening process. Preliminary development of LASCOR and friction stir welding applications, as well as evaluation of Hangar Bay Division Door fire resistance, was also conducted. These activities will require follow-on projects to complete and implement the tasking initiated here.