Posted by John Keller
DAHLGREN, Va., 14 March 2010.Military photonics experts at the Kitco/kSARIA LLC limited partnership in Norfolk, Va., will find ways to reduce the costs of aerospace and defense fiber optic component manufacturing and repair under terms of a $9.8 million contract awarded Friday by the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, Va.
Kitco/kSARIA military optical fiber experts are doing the work as part of the Navy's Automated Fiber Optic Manufacturing Initiative for the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), which is under construction at the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding yard in Newport News, Va.
The Automated Fiber Optic Manufacturing Initiative is in place to mature fiber optic cable termination technologies, specifically focusing on automation and miniaturization.
Kitco/kSARIA LLC is a limited partnership of KITCO Fiber Optics in Virginia Beach, Va., and kSARIA Corp. in Lawrence, Mass., which was formed to do work on the Automated Fiber Optic Manufacturing Initiative. Kitco is handling contract administration with the Navy for this contract, while kSARIA is responsible for developing all technology and the manufacturing of resulting products.
This contract promotes the Ford-class carrier program's goal to establish a manufacturing line to produce products developed through this initiative. The program seeks to drive lifetime fiber optic component manufacturing and repair costs down by miniaturizing and automating as many processes as possible.
Although this contract pertains specifically to the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, the technology that kSARIA develops will apply to all of the company's aerospace and defense fiber optic technology, says Sebastian Sicari, chief executive officer of kSARIA.
Kitco/kSARIA experts will do the work at their facilities in Lawrence, Mass., and Virginia Beach, Va., and should be finished by March 2015.
The carrier Gerald R. Ford is the first of the Navy's Ford-class supercarriers. Work began on the Ford in 2005, and the ship is scheduled to join the fleet in 2015. The new supercarrier is to replace the 50-year-old nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.
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