Wednesday, June 17, 2009

High-tech carrier construction

This fascinating Popular Mechanics article looks into the new technology applied to the Navy's newest carrier, the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, slated to launch in 2015. In addition to the technology on the ship, such as electromagnetic catapults, the article shows how the 100,000-ton carrier is being designed and constructed with the newest technology. This includes virtual reality rooms allowing engineers in different cities to collaborate and to try different configurations. A simulation program nicknamed "SimCity" for carriers" explores how well the ship will function, from refueling planes to feeding sailors, as various designs and parameters are tweaked. Finally, author Noah Shachtman takes a look at how all this is being transformed into metal with the help of the world's largest crane (it lifts 1,050 tons.) Really, really cool.

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