The keel laying of a ship is a time-honored tradition. In the days of wooden ships, the start of construction was marked by the laying of the first timber—the backbone of the vessel. Today, this celebration is modified to reflect current manufacturing methods as well as the cylindrical shape of modern submarines. Shipbuilders and sailors refer to the bottom centerline of the submarine as the keel. During a keel-laying ceremony, the ship sponsor’s initials are welded onto a steel plate to be installed on the submarine, where it will remain throughout the ship's service life to remind the crew of the strong bond between the ship and her sponsor.
For four decades, Quonset Point’s team-driven organization has played a key role in Electric Boat’s mission—to provide the U.S. Navy with the most advanced and capable undersea vessels in the world.
Since becoming operational February 4, 1974, Electric Boat’s Quonset Point facility has established and advanced the industry standard in manufacturing, outfitting and modular construction for the production of U.S. Navy nuclear submarines. By applying unique construction technologies that maximize the workforce’s multifaceted skills, Quonset Point has contributed to a revolution in submarine construction and developed a reputation as the crown jewel of the U.S. submarine industrial base.
At the facility, major submarine components are manufactured using digitally-controlled machines for cutting, machining and bending. These precision processes are driven by digital design data transmitted electronically from Electric Boat’s Connecticut design organization to Quonset Point’s automated steel processing facility. Submarine hull cylinders are outfitted with tanks, propulsion and auxiliary machinery, piping, wiring and lighting, and special hull coatings. These sophisticated modular units are then transported by barge to Groton, CT or Newport News Shipbuilding in Newport News, VA., where they are assembled into complete hulls, tested and delivered to the U.S. Navy.