The MPS Program at Quincy Shipbuilding

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 [THUMBNAIL] The panel line - where ships start to take shape. The panel shop brings in raw steel plate and shapes, and sends out completed panel sections. Each panel section - made up of one or more steel plates and various steel shapes as stiffeners - forms part of the hull, deck, or superstructure of a ship. This view shows the automated welding equipment which welds the stiffeners to the panels. The stiffened panel was the basic "building block" of Quincy's construction system.

 [THUMBNAIL] The assembly shop - panels become three-dimensional assemblies. Here the flat panels are mated with bulkheads and other panels to form larger assemblies, one or more decks in height. This assembly appears to be an innerbottom.

 [THUMBNAIL] Another view of the assembly shop, with several assemblies and panels in progress.

 [THUMBNAIL] The keel laying - the first assembly goes into the building dock. This is the ceremonial keel laying for 2nd LT John P. Bobo, Quincy's first MPS, yard number 61. Since this assembly left the assembly shop, it has been through preoutfit, where all the necessary piping, valves, and other equipment were installed, and through the blast & paint facility for several coats of paint.

 [THUMBNAIL] Keel laying for Quincy's 2nd MPS, PFC Dewayne T. Williams. The keels for the 1st and 2nd MPS were both laid on 16 September 1983, in a dual ceremony.

 [THUMBNAIL] The early stages of hull assembly. This view shows Quincy's first MPS, 2nd LT John P. Bobo, early in the assembly process. Many of the lowest assemblies - the innerbottom units - have been placed in the building dock. This view looks aft from the bow.

 [THUMBNAIL] Later in the assembly process, a small innerbottom assembly is swung into place. The ship's innerbottom level is nearly complete, and the first two vehicle decks are begining to take shape aft. This view of Bobo was taken on 18 October 1983.
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 [THUMBNAIL] A main engine is lowered into place. Thanks to their position low in the ship, the engines must be installed quite early in the assembly process. The enormous size of the 13,200 horsepower medium-speed diesel engine is apparent.

 [THUMBNAIL] On 23 March 1984, several months into the assembly process, Bobo starting to look like a ship. This view looks from the stern towards the bow; hull assembly has reached the upper vehicle decks. The three objects under tarps in the near foreground are the ship's generators.
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 [THUMBNAIL] About a month later, on 14 April 1984, Bobo assembly has progressed further. The large hatches in the foreground provide access to the ship's forward cargo holds, while vehicle decks take shape aft.
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 [THUMBNAIL] By 24 May 1984, Bobo assembly was well along. Assembly has reached the main deck in some places. This view looks forward from astern, showing the ramps between the vehicle decks.
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 [THUMBNAIL] Another month later, on 28 June 1984, Bobo's stern is taking shape. The main deck is in place across the ship's full beam, and the stern sections have reached their full width. The semi-circular platform in the forground is the mounting position for the slewing stern ramp.
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 [THUMBNAIL] This 17 July 1984 view shows Bobo's bow taking shape. This area is the forward cargo hold, for containerized and bulk cargo; vehicle decks stretch aft from the major athwartships bulkhead.
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 [THUMBNAIL] Installation of the main deckhouse - the heaviest shipbuilding lift ever. As had been standard Quincy practice, the MPS deckhouses were constructed separately, and installed on the ship quite late in the construction period. The first of these deckhouses was installed (aboard Bobo) on 18 August 1984, weighing in at an amazing 1,120 tons. This was, and still is, the heaviest lift ever accomplished in a US shipyard. Quincy's 1200 ton crane made this incredible lift possible.

 [THUMBNAIL] Helicopter deck installation aboard Bobo. This lift was accomplished at night, and the various floodlights and shadows produce a surreal appearance.

 [THUMBNAIL] 31 August 1984, the day after the helo deck installation, and the crane is still supporting the deck while welders secure it in place. Installation of a major unit such as this can easily keep a crane tied up for several shifts. The slewing stern ramp has been installed, and will soon be rigged to its supports under the helo deck.
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 [THUMBNAIL] Another view taken on 31 August 1984. While the "Goliath" crane supports the helo deck aft, two smaller cranes are installing a deck assembly forward. The ship's structural assembly is nearly complete, with only a small section of the bow remaining.
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 [THUMBNAIL] Quincy's second MPS, PFC Dewayne T. Williams. This view, taken on 29 January 1985, shows Williams at a fairly advanced stage of completion, with all structural assembly completed. She has moved into the berth previously occupied by Bobo for deckhouse installation and other finishing work. She will be delivered in less than six months.
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 [THUMBNAIL] Another view of Williams on 29 January 1985. The "Goliath" crane is landing one of the ship's cargo cranes.
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 [THUMBNAIL] A view looking up at the 1200 ton "Goliath" crane as one of the ship's cranes is installed. As one crane body is eased into position, another hangs suspended from "Goliath", awaiting its turn.
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 [THUMBNAIL] The second crane body being lowered into position. This is a delicate task, requiring careful control by the crane operator and considerable skill from the shipboard riggers and mechanics.
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 [THUMBNAIL] Propeller installation on Bobo. Because the propeller must be installed late in the construction process, after the ship is nearly complete above it, the installation is a tricky task. With no direct crane access, a series of chainfalls must be used to swing the heavy, clumsy propeller into place and support it while it is secured to the shaft.

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This section of the HG&UW site created and maintained by Andrew Toppan.
Photos are General Dynamics or US Navy Official unless otherwise noted.
Some General Dynamics photos provided courtesy of Alden Sproul.

Copyright © 2003, Andrew Toppan. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction, reuse, or distribution without permission is prohibited.