Advanced Metalworking Solutions for
Naval Systems that Go in Harm's Way

Naval Application of Laser Ablation Paint Removal Technology

A laser ablation paint removal system will reduce labor costs and secondary waste compared to traditional paint removal methods. Adapt Laser Systems photo


Laser ablation technology has been demonstrated to be effective at removing paint without generating secondary waste. This project will investigate commercially available, state-of-the-art lasers to identify a laser ablation process with reduced overall cost and comparable ease of use / removal rate to existing removal methods. The project will focus on shipboard paint removal applications within the interior spaces of Nimitz (CVN 68) Class Aircraft Carriers. The team also will discuss opportunities to leverage this technology on other platforms such as the VIRGINIA Class submarine (VCS).


Removal of protective paints is required during in-service inspection, maintenance, and repair of Navy ships. Current paint removal methods are labor intensive and/or generate significant amounts of secondary waste, such as used grit, sanding disks and spent chemicals. The recovery and disposal of secondary waste adds tremendous cost and environmental impact to paint removal operations.


The potential benefits of this project include reduced life-cycle maintenance costs and environmental impact due to the elimination of secondary waste associated with paint removal operations. Previous DOD projects have demonstrated cost savings of between 10% and 95% for laser ablation paint removal compared to existing methods.


The results of this project will be incorporated into the CVN 68 Class carrier maintenance procedures as an alternate surface preparation method and will be implemented at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding - Newport News and Norfolk Naval Shipyard in the 2nd Qtr FY12.