NNS Installs First Shipboard Piping Assemblies for Columbia (SSBN 826)
Published January 6, 2021
In late October, X42 pipefitters began installing the first shipboard piping assemblies at Newport News Shipbuilding for Columbia (SSBN 826), the lead ship of a new class of submarines.
“It was pretty cool to be one of the first ones to work it knowing that you’re pretty much setting the bar for how the new class is going to come together,” said Zachery Holland (X42).
Since the Columbia-Class Submarine Program is new and did not yet have assigned craftsmen and craftswomen, Holland and fellow pipefitters Cynthia Brooks-Jefferson (X42), Kevon McCree Williams (X42) and Michael Rogers (X42) – who all normally work on Virginia-class submarines – were selected to complete the inaugural shipboard piping install on Columbia with X42 Foreman Daniel Marshall.
The project to install piping assemblies in Columbia’s aft trim tank was expected to take about two weeks, but work was completed in about half that time. “They came over here and did an excellent job. They knocked it out quick with no accidents or rework,” said General Foreman Jeff Bailey.
The Columbia-Class Program uses 3D visual work instructions (VWI) instead of 2D paper drawings. Brooks-Jefferson said she enjoyed using the new technology that allows shipbuilders to zoom and view components exactly as they will be installed. She looks forward to using VWIs on VCS projects in the future.
“It was amazing,” Brooks-Jefferson said. “There will be a lot fewer mistakes.”