Infrastructure maintenance posed challenges for U.S. Naval Base Guam (NBG) due to lack of services and support on the tiny western Pacific island. NBG handles submarine deployment for the 7th fleet and is home port to four Los Angeles-class attack submarines. Camels prevent damage to vessels and port structures when submersibles are berthed or moored, but conventional materials make the external flotation structures prone to high maintenance and frequent replacement. NBG found a solution with Composite Advantage’s corrosion resistant, fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite universal submarine camels.
“Metal and wood camels require removal every two years for inspection and repair which can be costly if corrosion has set in,” says Scott Reeve, marketing director for Composite Advantage, now part of the Creative Composites Group. “Poor durability was another problem. The FRP universal composite camel is corrosion resistant to salt water and chemicals, requires no maintenance, reduces life cycle costs and can accommodate any class of submarine.”
A set of two FRP camels 36 ft. long, 18 ft. high and 17 ft. deep, weighing 70,000 lbs. each were fabricated in Composite Advantage’s Dayton, Ohio factory and shipped to Whittier, California in December 2019. The camels travelled 6,111 miles by ship to Guam, arriving January 13, 2020. Final assembled at a Guam shipyard, the two camels were set in the water and tugged to the naval base where they were moored to the pier ready for use. Composite Advantage has been designing and fabricating FRP universal camels for the Navy since 2013.
Composite Advantage supplies innovative fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) products for major infrastructure markets. To create its engineered solutions, CA pairs progressive designs with its capability to mold large parts, perform on-site assembly, and support customer installations. The supplier has been developing lightweight, high-strength, cost-effective FRP goods for structurally demanding applications and corrosive environments since 2005. Many of these products have paved the way for first-time use of FRP composites in infrastructure, rail and water applications because of their performance attributes. The supplier’s comprehensive lineup includes bridge decks, trail bridges, cantilever sidewalks and rail platforms to fender protection systems, pilings, naval ship separators and other waterfront structures. CA is member of the Creative Composites Group, a subsidiary of Hill and Smith Holdings PLC.