Missing MIP A SHT-ty Problem For 774s
From an article at dailypress.com reposted at Military.com, there are apparently concerns with how much Mold-in-Place (MIP) Special Hull Treatment (SHT) is falling off the Virginia-class boats. Excerpts:
Significant portions of the specialized hull coating sloughed off from portions of three of the first four boats in the class, leading the Navy to begin an investigation to determine the cause of the problem and how to fix it.Several readers here noticed this problem from a picture of USS Hawaii (SSN 776) I posted earlier this month. As I recall, the early 751-flight Los Angeles-class boats had the same problem. As the engineers have solved similar problems before, I'm sure they'll figure this one out as well -- given enough time and money.
The coatings, applied to the entire exterior of submarines to absorb sonar waves and reduce the amount of detectible noise emanating from inside the boat, have "debonded" from underway Virginia class subs, often in "large sections up to hundreds of square feet," according to the Pentagon's top weapons tester.
J. Michael Gilmore, director of operational testing and evaluation, presented the findings in a June 30 letter to Ashton B. Carter, the Pentagon's acquisition chief. In the letter, Gilmore said the Virginia class program has experienced multiple "fail-to-sail" issues — problems that could delay a ship's deployment — including the hull coating problem.
Major hull coating failures are limited to three of the seven subs commissioned so far — the Virginia, Texas and the North Carolina — the Navy said in a written response to questions posed by the Daily Press. The debonding occurred over a period of several years.