The US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) has granted additive manufacturing (AM) approval to Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII).

The certification allows HII’s NNS unit to produce certain components or parts using AM, or 3D printing for NAVSEA platforms, including aircraft carriers, submarines and more.

NNS Engineering and Design vice-president Dave Bolcar said: “Innovation is driving our business transformation at Newport News Shipbuilding.

“Our continued advances in additive manufacturing are revolutionising naval engineering and shipbuilding. This will continue to propel our progress in efficiency, safety and affordability as we remain steadfast in our mission to deliver the critical ships our Navy needs to protect peace around the world.”

NNS is one of the only two shipyards that are capable of constructing nuclear-powered submarines for the US Navy.

It is also the sole refueler of nuclear-powered US Navy aircraft carriers.

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In January 2019, the HII division achieved a milestone in AM of components for nuclear-powered warships.

It delivered the first 3-D-printed metal part to the US Navy for installation and evaluation on the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).

Following the achievement, the company has produced several 3D printed metal parts for US Navy ships. The latest certification it received was for additively manufactured stainless steel (316/316L grade) pipefittings.