VA CLASS SUBMARINES: Full Solution
When we say full solution at KITCO, what we mean is that our support solution incorporates all key areas of our business. These areas currently include Field Services, Training, and Products (Kitted Solutions & Cable Assemblies).
When we were first called in to assist the VCS program, it was to help HII-NNS with fabricating and testing a harsh duty tactical hybrid fiber optic/ low voltage copper connector. Yes, it’s a mouthful. Basically, it is a six (6) channel connector consisting of four (4) optical fiber cable components (OFCC’s) and two copper wires (black & white).
What proved to be a hurdle was getting to the system equipment already mounted to the skin of the boat to fabricate these connectors.
I can still remember the VCS REP carefully pointing out to me with his flashlight, through a maze of pipes, to where the equipment was located, so we could get an eye on it. I then asked ‘how do we get there?’, and he replied ‘not from here, that’s for sure, follow me’. Nothing beats working your way through the bilge, then climbing up the skin of the boat, to where the flashlight is pointed, and making a fiber optic connection with little to no light.
Seriously though, it was an honor to support this effort, and while difficult, we were able to make it work. This particular system makes sure the eyes and ears of the boat are fully functional.
The VCS folks are seriously some of the best folks to support in our great country. After we completed the USS Texas field support, HII-NNS approached KITCO to develop training curriculum, then train their folks on how to fabricate and test the hybrid connector associated with this system equipment.
This modularized approach to training filled a need for a valued customer and allowed them to grow this capability organically.
As a result of delivering successful training, KITCO was then able to specify and provide their technicians with a fiber optic termination kit and test equipment to support the aforementioned training.
For some reason, this next statement often surprises our industry partners. We have a state of the art manufacturing facility located in Virginia Beach! This means we are able and experienced to handle drawing & material specification, procurement, logistics, design support, fabrication, inspection, testing, and delivery of fully kitted ship and boat assembly solutions.
We have done so for the VCS program directly, which has allowed our Navy and customer to enjoy cost savings through our efficiencies. This program has proven to be and will continue to be meaningful for KITCO.
Next on the horizon, the new Columbia Class Submarine. If that doesn’t get you excited, you’re in the wrong business!