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Austal opens new steel shipbuilding facility

The ASX-listed shipbuilding prime has unveiled a new 11,000-square metre manufacturing facility in the United States.

The ASX-listed shipbuilding prime has unveiled a new 11,000-square metre manufacturing facility in the United States.

Austal Limited subsidiary Austal USA has officially opened a new US$100 million (AU$134 million) steel shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Alabama, designed to support the simultaneous production of both aluminium and steel hulled vessels.

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The opening was attended by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, United States Congressman Jerry Carl, Representative for Alabama’s First Congressional District in the US House of Representatives, along with members of the United States military.

The 11,000-square metre manufacturing facility is expected to support the development of two Navajo Class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) for the United States Navy as part of a US$144 million (AU$193 million) contract awarded in October 2021. 

The manufacturing hub, which was jointly financed by a Defense Production Act (DPA) Title III Agreement between the United States Department of Defense and Austal USA, includes computerised and robotic steel processing equipment.

A 6,000-square metre stock yard will be utilised for handling the raw steel, while a 2,000-square metre paint facility supports the simultaneous painting and blasting in two separate cells.

Both cells can also be combined providing the ability to paint super-modules.

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“Austal USA is now ready to start constructing steel ships for the US Navy, including the Navajo Class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) ships; and can offer this expanded shipbuilding capability to new customers such as the United States Coast Guard,” Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg said.

Austal USA president Rusty Murdaugh described the addition of steel capability as a “game changer” for the company as it supports the US Navy, US Coast Guard and other customers with high-quality ships. 

“We appreciate the confidence the Department of Defense and the Department of the Navy have shown in us with the award of the DPA grant, to help get this project started and look forward to repaying that confidence with our future performance delivering high-quality steel ships,” Murdaugh said.

“Austal USA will operate our steel production line using the same lean manufacturing principles that we’ve refined over the last 15 years building LCS and EPFs for the Navy.

“That process has resulted in Austal’s reputation for delivering quality ships, on time and on budget, ship after ship. We will bring that same reliable production capability to steel ship construction.”

[Related: Austal launches new Evolved Cape Class vessel]

Austal opens new steel shipbuilding facility
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