Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ever wonder why Navy ships have steel superstructures?

Official USN photo taken on 23 November 1975, the day after her collision with USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67). Though essentially intact up to the weather deck, her aluminum superstructure burned and melted; this significantly influenced the decision to build the Arleigh Burke-class DDGs with steel superstructures.  Via Military


  1. Aluminum is flammable and outright exothermic once ignited (eg. solid rocket fuel & thermite).

  2. You should see the RN's Admiralty reports after the Falklands War, which had some scathing comments about "economical" naval engineering with devastating (burn) results after the Exocets hit.

    But aluminium is still being used in naval construction, just not in those places which would turn a ship into a magnesium tinderbox.

    Back then the thought was, besides weight savings, that if certain areas were made 'soft', missiles would litterally pass through before they detonated.