Goodrich delivers 24th composite dome for Navy frigates

Goodrich's RHO-COR composite material system for radar domes, combines the best acoustic properties of rubber with the increased strength of engineered composite materials.

Goodrich Corp. (Charlotte, N.C., USA) announced on Jan. 7 that it has delivered its 24th Sonar Composite Dome (SCD) for U.S. Navy FFG-7 class frigates. Goodrich's Engineered Polymer Products (EPP) team in Jacksonville, Fla., USA, has been the exclusive supplier of sonar domes for FFG-7, DDG-51, and CG-47 class ships to the U.S. Navy and allied navies for more than 40 years. A sonar dome is an acoustically transparent housing that surrounds the sonar transducer array, which together make up the sensor part of the sonar system.

The FFG-7 class frigates were designed in the mid 1970s as general-purpose escort vessels. They operated in an anti-submarine role to protect amphibious landing forces, supply and replenishment groups, and merchant convoys. Fifty-one ships were built for the U.S. Navy between 1977 and 1989. Some of the older FFG-7 class frigates have been decommissioned or transferred to allied navies, while others remain in U.S. Navy service.

Mounted on the keel of FFG-7 class frigates, the sonar dome surrounds and protects the ship's sonar array while offering minimum interference to sound transmission and reception for enhanced detection and classification of underwater targets. Combining rubber with durable and robust reinforcements, Goodrich pioneered the development of rubber wire-reinforced surface ship sonar domes for anti-submarine surface combatants. Capitalizing on its proprietary elastomer expertise, Goodrich developed the RHO-COR composite material system which combined the best acoustic properties of rubber with the increased strength of engineered composite materials.

SCDs began replacing traditional sonar rubber domes (SRDs) on U.S. and allied Navy frigates in 1997. SCDs are designed to last well beyond the life of the ship while being virtually maintenance free. Goodrich has produced more than 500 sonar domes for submarines and anti-submarine warfare surface combatants over the past four decades.

"We are honored to have been able to contribute to the anti-submarine warfare capabilities for one of the U.S. Navy's most versatile warships throughout the years," said Jim Pollock, vice president for Goodrich's Engineered Polymer Products team. "This delivery marks another significant milestone and represents decades of delivering superior quality products to the U.S. Navy. We look forward to continued success with sonar dome production for FFG-7 class frigates, DDG-51 class destroyers, and CG-47 class cruisers."