U.S. Navy inspection confirms performance of composite camels

Ohio-based Composites Advantage says a recent inspection by the U.S. proved that the company's composite submarine camels had met goals set for maintenance and durability.

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Composites Advantage (CA, Dayton, Ohio, USA) reported on Feb. 25 that a recent inspection of composite submarine camels developed and built by the company for the U.S. Navy gave the composite “boat bumpers” perfect marks for performance.

CA installed the first set of universal composite camels in 2010 at Naval Submarine Base New London, Groton, Conn. The advanced materials manufacturer built and installed two more sets for the submarine base in 2011. The inspection, led by a Navy facilities engineer along with CA engineers, confirmed that all three sets of composite camels were effectively transferring high loads to protect nuclear-powered submarines and piers while requiring zero maintenance. The inspection was aided by a waterline painted on the camels to check for trim and freeboard.

The Navy selected CA and Whitman, Requardt & Associates (Baltimore, Md., USA) for a design-build project to develop and fabricate a universal composite camel to replace its steel and timber products, which required annual maintenance and frequent replacement. Leveraging its technology experience in producing very large composite structures, CA manufactured the camels to accommodate all classes of underwater craft up to the Navy’s largest ballistic missile submarines.

“FRP composite material resists corrosion, so maintenance with these camels is minimal and lifecycle costs are significantly reduced,” says Scott Reeve, president of CA. “A universal or one-size-fits-all deep draft camel offers greater flexibility in berthing submarines, helps reduce inventory, allows support between Navy bases and provides a cost savings by improving operational efficiency.”

CA is a manufacturer of very large fiber-reinforced composite parts, up to 52 ft/16m, for structurally demanding applications and corrosive environments.