To produce steel ships for the U.S. Navy and other customers Australia-based Austal US has invested $50 million to open a state-of-the-art facility in Mobile, Alabama.
The 117,000-square-foot manufacturing expansion will house the latest computerized and robotic steel processing equipment to handle all current and future demands of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. The addition of steel shipbuilding capability complements the company’s aluminum shipbuilding expertise at its Alabama manufacturing site.
In addition, a 60,000-square-foot stockyard will be utilized for handling the raw steel and a 19,500-square-foot paint facility will provide the ability to paint and blast simultaneously in two separate cells, or both cells can be combined to paint super-modules.
“We are so excited to see our plans to add steel to our capabilities come to fruition,” Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh said. “The addition of steel capability is a game changer as it opens up our capability to support the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and other customers with high-quality ships.“
Financing for the new steel production line was provided in part by a Defense Production Act (DPA) agreement between the U.S. Department of Defense, in support of the U.S. Navy shipbuilding industrial base, and Austal USA.
“During World War II, Mobile workers built steel Liberty ships that were critical to the war effort, and now, in the coming years, Austal will look to deliver steel ships, once again, needed by the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy,” said Governor Kay Ivey.
Austal’s Alabama shipyard has delivered 15 Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and 12 Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPF) to the Navy while another seven total aluminum Navy ships are under construction. The company is also under contract to build two Navajo-class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) which will be the first steel ships constructed in the new facility.