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Could ‘Augmented Reality’ Solve Carrier Cost Concerns?

National Defense Magazine reports that “executives at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, the Huntington Ingalls division that is constructing the Navy’s next-generation Ford-class supercarriers, said new technology employing digital design and construction could help reduce labor hours and lower acquisition costs for the program, which has endured criticism by lawmakers for budget overruns and delays.”  

“In June, Rear Adm. Tom Moore, program executive officer for aircraft carriers, told reporters that the Ford-class program could save $1 billion by decreasing the man hours needed to construct CVN-79, the USS John F. Kennedy, by 18 percent compared to CVN-78, the USS Gerald R. Ford.”  

“Augmented reality (AR) technology — which takes a real-world environment and supplements it with computer-generated sensory data such as graphics — could help achieve that goal, according to executives at the shipbuilding company. The technology originated from designing the Ford-class carrier with 3D modeling, said Patrick Ryan, the company’s engineering manager. The shipbuilder wanted to use the electronic and digital information it had generated, place it into the hands of its workers, and ‘turn it from more than just a design tool … into a construction tool,’ he said.”

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