Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More On The Submarine Weld Issue

When the news came out earlier this month about potential weld issues on Virginia-class submarines, I figured it was just another paperwork exercise -- someone doing a QA review for North Carolina's sea trials had found a discrepancy, and everyone had to jump through hoops to get all their paperwork in order. It turns out that there's a little bit more to it.

Articles in Virginia and Connecticut newspapers discuss the root cause of the problem -- welders at Newport News being allowed to carry filler material for more than one weld type. As a result, the probe is being extended to all ships worked on recently at Newport News:
An investigation of faulty pipe welds on Virginia-class submarines assembled at Northrop Grumman Newport News has been broadened to include aircraft carriers and another class of submarines.
The assessment will cover non-nuclear piping systems on carriers and subs repaired and built by shipyard workers in recent years, shipyard and Navy officials said Monday.
A shipyard spokeswoman described it as a precautionary move after the discovery in recent weeks of contaminated welds on some of the Virginia-class submarines the yard has assembled. It's possible that welders made the same mistake on other vessels - using the wrong type of metal weld filler to join non-nuclear piping systems...
...The internal piping systems under review carry such things as oil, air and water.
So far, seven ships beyond the Virginia-class subs have been targeted for an assessment, Dellapenta said. Four are carriers - the George H.W. Bush, the Carl Vinson, the Enterprise and the George Washington. The other three are Los Angeles-class attack submarines - the Toledo, the Newport News and the Oklahoma City.
The problem came to light when a couple of welds on PCU New Hampshire failed hydrostatic tests at EB; basically, welders at Newport News used copper alloy filler on CRES (corrosion-resistant stainles steel) socket welds. Having only been at EB myself, I know that it was always a big deal if we saw some welder carrying around more than one type of filler (it normally happened on the night shift). The articles don't say how long Newport News welders have been allowed to carry more than one type of filler -- does anyone know if they've always done it that way?

Update 0858 20 Dec: Springbored and Galrahn have more on the issue.


Blogger Deep Six said...

NDTs and X-rays for all my friends!

12/20/2007 2:18 AM

Anonymous Anon E. Moose said...

Not surprised. When my boat was at PHNSY, we discovered a check valve that the shipyard had installed backwards. Ok, that's happend before. Consider this:

-he had to machine off a design feature that was intended to prevent its reverse installation...
- AND it was in the EMBT blow system...
- AND it had been that way for 10 years!

No Ka Oi. No Ka Oi indeed.

12/20/2007 5:20 AM

Anonymous quotecritter said...

Hey I served with an A ganger out of Pearl who went by the nickname of Moose.

12/20/2007 10:46 AM

Anonymous stoeast said...

Nightshift welder at EB with more than one type rod...hard to believe, I've been there for 30 yrs and have never heard that accusation. Prior to my career at EB I was also on submarines, went thru EB during FBM conversion, never ever heard of a welder with more than one type rod...unless he was a service welder for temp. attachments of either HY80 or HT.
What you say in jest is read by some serious individuals...maybe!

12/20/2007 2:22 PM

Blogger Mike Mulligan said...

The magnitude of this is much larger than anything we’ve seen in the past including the beginning of the 1990’s.

I guess the question is...why couldn’t it be sabotage of some type?

Are there any difference between using the could there be an advantage of some type with copper-nickel it easier to weld or quicker.

Was there a shortage of the stainless steal filler or was it more expensive...thus you gain some type of advantage...was there a production problem with the stainless steel filler getting to the shipyard.

12/20/2007 4:30 PM

Anonymous Imogen said...

So much helpful data for me!

9/06/2012 2:14 PM


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