USS Jason Dunham Repairs Helicopter Hanger Door

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USS Jason Dunham Repairs Helicopter Hanger Doors

After undergoing modifications to her helicopter hanger door, USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) departed from Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Va. to undergo workups, March 4.


Dunham was previously fitted with a wooden structure in place of its original helicopter hangar door, but it failed an operational test, which necessitated finding a new solution.

“Norfolk Ship Support Activity (NSSA) was tasked with building a modified helicopter hangar door that met all safety requirements and could handle the rigors of sea workups,” said NSSA Chief Hull Technician (SW) Mike Ribeiro.”

NSSA’s Engineering and Production Departments met this challenge head on and created the structural drawing and work package instructions on how to assemble a helicopter hangar door.

“We had some criteria passed down as it relates to wave impact loading. We took the data that we had and ran some preliminary calculations by hand and backed them up with finite element analysis. We worked with our Production Department’s shipfitters, welders and fabricators to come up with an initial design and the best way to put the door together,” said NSSA General Engineer Aaron Adams.

Both parties agreed on a rectangular tubular design that fit within the helicopter doorframe without having to be welded to the ship. The repair would take 15 days and double shifts in order to complete the work and have the ship out on time.

“We have been running two shifts around the clock since Feb. 18, to get this job done,” said Chief Hull Technician (SW) Mike Ribeiro, NSSA leading chief petty officer.

The helicopter door was assembled and welded with more than 158 weld joints. The majority of the work was done in shop.

“We save a lot of time by building the door in shop versus waiting until we get aboard the ship. We try to be as efficient as possible,” said Robeiro.

Multiple departments in NSSA had a hand in making this repair successful.

“The NSSA team has done an outstanding job with getting that temporary door up,” said USS Jason Dunham’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Michael W. Meredith.”They have worked countless hours throughout the night and have been very flexible with our ship schedule during the day. Thanks go out to the NSSA engineers, shipfitters, welders, fabricators and more that had a hand in getting us underway on time.”

Press Release, March 21, 2014; Image: Navy

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