Austal USA opened its $100 million steel shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Ala. The addition of steel shipbuilding capability complements the company’s well-established aluminum shipbuilding expertise. The 117,000-square-foot manufacturing plant will house the latest computerized and robotic steel-processing equipment to handle all of the current and future demands of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. 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.

Austal 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). These will be the first steel ships constructed in the new facility. 

“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, said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “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.”