RSRS: Silent Defense of George Washington

Story Number: NNS130713-04Release Date: 7/13/2013 1:31:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paolo Bayas

PACIFIC OCEAN (NNS) -- USS George Washington (CVN 73) is the first aircraft carrier to use a rubberized coating, radar signature reduction system (RSRS) to enhance its self-defense.

According to Senior Chief Crypotologic Technician (Technical) James Northrop, OS division leading chief petty officer, 30,000 square feet of RSRS can be found on the exterior surface of George Washington at a cost of approximately 500 dollars per square foot.

"The upkeep of RSRS is extremely important," said Northrop. "Any pressure from people leaning on RSRS to jet blast can cause damage to the rubberized paint that we see on the exterior, which can cause water to seep in and damage the interior tiles."

Every square foot of RSRS is inspected for tears, burns, indentations and other damage during a rotation of three to four weeks. RSRS is installed on all catwalks, the island, fantail and sponsons.

"Harsh detergents cannot be used to clean RSRS," said Northrop. "Hand and general cleaners you would use on your skin, and a soft-bristled brush are the only things you can use to clean RSRS. Do not use pressurized hoses while cleaning and do not paint RSRS; repairs can only be done by qualified supervisors."

There are strict guidelines to discard, replace or move RSRS. RSRS is a highly-controlled material and every square foot is accounted for. Any damage or indentations should be reported to the cryptologic technicians (technical) in OS division.

"A lot of the damage comes from moving equipment carelessly," said Lt. Adrian Durham, RSRS inspector. "To prevent a majority of RSRS damage, be more attentive when moving gear and large equipment in tight spaces."

As the first aircraft carrier with RSRS, the Navy looks at George Washington to provide a metric of reliability and sustainability for all future carrier installations of this passive defense system.

"If people actually understood what RSRS did for the self-defense of this ship, they would be a lot more careful around it," said Northrop. "RSRS keeps our Sailors out of harms way and ultimately, it helps save lives."

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit

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