Rotating Coupling Covers (RCCs) enclose shaft flanges on waterborne shafting on aircraft carriers. The existing fairings are doubly curved copper-nickel (Cu-Ni) with tight dimensional tolerances and therefore are difficult and expensive to fabricate. In addition, they have a history of leaking, as evidenced by extensive corrosion of the flanges. Following discussions with PMS 312, NAVSEA 05, and NSWCCD, the RCC concept in this Composites Manufacturing Technology Center (CMTC) project is a hybrid metallic/composite construction. The functions, shape, and arrangement of the individual components are to be determined during execution of the project, based on optimizing manufacturing processes, while reducing costs. As the primary structure, the composite shells of the RCCs will be fabricated using methods developed for the fairwaters and rope guards, specifically male molding with OVB prepreg. A decoupled design is desired to eliminate the need for a watertight fairing seal.
The principal benefit of this project will be life-cycle savings while reducing acquisition costs or remaining cost-neutral. The project is estimated to save $37M in total, resulting in an ROI of 25:1. The fabrication approach will save production time and, while the RCC is not on the critical path, any production time savings will be a risk reduction.
This project will be demonstrated with PMS 312C funding on the earliest availability of a CVN 68 Class carrier. An RCC will be installed and checked after a limited time at sea. If successful, the composite RCC will be approved for use on all back-fits and future construction. The technical community will also leverage this preservation system to all surface ships, increasing the overall payoff for this effort. Implementation is estimated for FY17.