Crews constructing the CVN Assembly Hall have made considerable progress since this photo was taken in March. Photo by Aaron Pritchett

CVN Assembly Hall Will Boost Production

Published June 14, 2022

In 2019, Newport News Shipbuilding celebrated the award of a Navy contract to build two aircraft carriers. That same year, the company began planning to meet this new challenge.

The payoff of that planning effort is taking shape in the shipyard with construction of the CVN Assembly Hall. It will increase the production footprint for the CVN program and boost efficiency of aircraft carrier construction.

Scott Miller, O41 engineering manager, said the project was originally planned as a four-bay facility with a support building and office space. As the design progressed, it was expanded to six bays to provide capacity for Structural Fabrication and Assembly (SFA) unit construction.

Three bays are expected to come online in late 2022 with the remaining three to be operational by April 2023.

While increased production is important, the hall is also designed with shipbuilders in mind. The first floor of the support building includes a large area with seating for about 300 employees to gather, plus restrooms, a mother’s room, and a tool room or shop area.

“That’s something we were focused on from the beginning, making sure we’re not just building more production space, but we’re actually thinking about the shipbuilders out there on the deckplate,” Miller said.

And with one-quarter-height walls extending down from the roof line, it provides shade and mild rain protection. “We do lose production hours due to the heat during the summer, and rain,” Miller said. “By no means is this building going to solve all those problems, but it’s going to help.”

NNS will have the capability to expand the Assembly Hall in the future. It could be extended to the west, and be fully enclosed to provide more protection from the weather. “It is structurally designed to be able to do that,” Miller said.

The project is already attracting attention. “We see a lot of folks walking by, and they’ll stop and check it out,” he said. “Being right here in the middle of the yard, it’s got a lot of visibility from every person walking by.”