Austal USA Breaks Ground on New Steel Assembly Facility

July 9, 2024 5:40 PM
Artist’s rendering of the planned facility. Austal USA Image

Austal USA broke ground on its planned final steel assembly facility Tuesday, the company announced in a statement.

The building and waterfront support area is expected to include a new assembly building, a new ship lift system and waterfront improvements, the company said in the release. Austal predicts it will be finished by summer 2026.

The 192,000-square-foot, three-bay building expands the shipyard’s ability to build steel ships. The original yard in Mobile was created to build aluminum ships for the Navy – the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-2) and the Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF-1).

The facility is estimated to cost $250 million and will include a Pearlson & Pearlson Inc., ship lift platform that is capable of moving 18,000 tons, USNI News previously reported. The addition to Austal’s Mobile, Ala., shipyard will give the shipbuilder more ability to work on projects like the Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter for the Coast Guard and the Navy’s T-AGOS-25 ocean surveillance ship. The yard is also building the Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship (T-ATS), the first ship on the steel line that Austal converted from its original aluminum manufacturing facility and has taken on submarine component work as part of the Program Executive Office Submarine’s outsourcing program to improve efficiencies at the two primary submarine construction yards.

“Austal USA is poised for significant growth, and this infrastructure expansion plan reflects that,” Austal USA President Michelle Kruger said in the release. “Austal USA’s investment in this latest facility expansion project reflects our commitment to supporting the implementation of the National Defense Industrial Strategy and our commitment to investing in the Mobile region.”

In addition to the current steel ships under contract, Austal USA has also been mentioned as a contender for the second yard to build the Constellation-class frigate (FFG-62) when the service elects to expand the program.

Last week, the shipyard’s Australian parent Austal announced former Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer as the new chairman of the company.

In April, South Korean shipbuilder Hanwaha Systems and Hanwha Ocean attempted to acquire Austal USA, making a $662 million bid for the yard. The bid was rejected due to U.S. national security concerns, Reuters reported at the time.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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