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

Appendage Manufacturing Improvements

A reusable fixture capable of positioning VCS appendages for safer, more efficient access will help to reduce labor and material usage. NNS photo


The project will improve the manufacturability of appendages on Virginia Class Submarines (VCS). The NMC-led project team will develop and implement a reusable fixturing system capable of positioning the outboard stern dive plane appendages for safer, more efficient access during fitting and welding.


Currently, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) builds expendable fixtures and supports to manufacture the 12 unique appendages on each VCS hull. These build-in-place, non-adjustable fixtures make it difficult for the various trades to access the appendages during construction. In many cases, the trades are elevated four feet and are in awkward positions when welding, which cause safety and ergonomic issues.

Technical Approach

NMC and NNS are using the concepts developed in an NMC-led Rapid Response project to support the development of a prototype system for safer, more efficient access during welding and fitting.


Implementing the prototype system for dive plane construction and using the project results to generate reusable fixtures for the other appendages will result in an estimated $5 million savings for the VCS program over five years. The technology also has the potential to reduce injury claims and medical costs.


NNS expects to start using the technology during the construction of SSN 792 during the 4th Quarter 2014.




Charles McNamara
Asst. Program Manager for Virginia Class Development and Modernization
Naval Sea Systems Command, PMS 450D


Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
Newport News Shipbuilding
PMS 450 Virginia Class Program Office