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

Sonar Dome Fabrication Process Improvements

This ManTech project is addressing the significant challenges in fabricating and assembling the sonar dome module. (Ingalls photo)


An NMC-led Integrated Project Team (IPT) will design, prototype, and test a system to remove excess process material between the sonar dome components and assemblies. Additional technologies, such as customized automation tools and fixtures, will be investigated to advance fabrication efficiency and improve the fit-up of the ship structure and sonar dome parts. The system will reduce the labor associated with the current manual grinding methods.


The Navy Metalworking Center (NMC) is investigating two areas to improve the fabrication of the DDG 51 class sonar dome – advanced material removal methods and integrated metrology (measurement) solutions.

Technical Approach

The IPT will also evaluate metrology technologies that may be integrated throughout the sonar dome manufacturing and assembly processes to improve the dimensional accuracy of these complex sub-assemblies, thereby reducing the need for additional labor to address fit-up issues. This approach will verify the geometric tolerance and compliance of smaller fabricated parts and larger assemblies prior to the production of advanced assemblies, where adjustments and repairs become burdensome and delay the build schedule.


The IPT’s modifications will improve first-time quality and reduce the sonar dome construction schedule. The process changes may also improve environmental, health and safety conditions. As a result of this project’s improvements, Ingalls Shipbuilding (Ingalls) estimates an approximately $3 million savings per DDG 51 hull or a five-year savings of $15.1 million. The solutions identified in this project may be applied to other ship classes under construction at Ingalls.


The implementation target is DDG 117 in the first quarter of FY16.




Todd Hellman
PMS 400D


Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division
Ingalls Shipbuilding
PMS 400D - DDG 51 Program Office