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Sparks makes, the world takes
by Andrea Tyrell
Nov 11, 2013 | 1455 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sparks-based manufacturing business RIX Industries crafted features of the U.S. Navy’s newly christened USS Gerald R. Ford.
Sparks-based manufacturing business RIX Industries crafted features of the U.S. Navy’s newly christened USS Gerald R. Ford.
The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, was christened and launched Nov. 9, inaugurating a line of newly designed, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers for the Navy. Sparks manufacturing business, RIX Industries, provided some key features for the carrier.

    “The Sparks plant built six MARC350s, equipment that provides low pressure control air to operate pressure regulators, wave guides and various auxiliary equipment,” said Dana Otterson, strategic resource development coordinator for RIX Industries. “We also created two NGEN generators for the Ford. NGEN generators creates nitrogen for filling aircraft tires and struts. They can also be used for medical use and used as an inert gas for fuel tanks on planes.”

     Named for Gerald R. Ford, the 38th president of the United States, the USS Ford is designed for 50 years of service before it will be scheduled to “retire.”  Former President Ford served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946 during World War II, working on the USS Monterey as a lieutenant commander.

     Former President Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, broke a ceremonial champagne bottle against the carrier Saturday afternoon.

     “May God bless and watch over the USS Gerald R. Ford, those who built her and the men and women who will sail her into harm’s way,” said Ford Bales.

     The USS Ford is about 70 percent complete and will join the U.S. Navy fleet in February 2016. It is currently housed in the Newport News Shipbuilding dock in Hampton Roads, Virginia. When launched, the USS Ford will be the largest aircraft carrier in US military history. The aircraft carrier will be able to launch 25 percent more flight missions than other existing carriers. Despite its large size, the USS Ford will need 25 percent less manpower than other carriers, which equates to 700 less servicemen and women onaboard the carrier. The construction cost for the USS Ford is at an estimated $13 billion with $5 million dedicated to research and development.

    RIX Industries manufactures products for various businesses around the world, including goods for oil platforms, chemical plants and gas cooperations. In business since 1878, the San Francisco-based RIX Industries has been working with the U.S. military for the past 118 years, creating parts for defensive and aerospace machines. The local company has produced parts for several aircraft carriers, including the USS George H.W. Bush and the USS John  F. Kennedy, as well as small vessels like guided missiles cruisers and missile destroyers.

     “We are proud to be part of an American manufacturing feat that built a U.S. Navy ship designed for efficiency and ready for the future,” said Bert Otterson, president of RIX Industries.

    The Sparks branch of RIX Industries opened in 1979. It currently employees approximately 30 workers.

    For more information about RIX Industries, visit
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