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Norfolk Naval Shipyard Uses Drones to Support Disaster Recovery

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Norfolk Naval Shipyard deployed drones to help personnel from different units inspect and recover from damages caused by a storm in April 2020. The storm damaged multiple buildings and required the shipyard to assess areas, such as those with broken windows, for repairs, Naval Sea Systems Command said Tuesday.

Curt Hart, nuclear engineering and planning manager at NNSY, led the damage assessments and succeeding repairs. The drones captured site images that allowed engineers to conclude that an affected building had weakening window fasteners.

“This saved time and money, eliminated the need for personnel to perform high-risk work and provided better support for the fleet by getting the critical shop resources located inside the building back in action quicker,” said Rob Hale, head of the site's refueling secretary branch.

Now, NNSY may use the same drone-driven approach to inspect rooftops, cramped areas and crane booms instead of deploying personnel for these types of work.