Austal USA breaks ground on new assembly building

(MOBILE, Ala.) — Austal USA celebrated the start of construction of a new final assembly facility with a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday. The infrastructure expansion, which will be to the south of the company’s current waterfront facility, will include a new building, waterfront improvements and a new shiplift system. The project is scheduled to be complete and fully operational by summer of 2026.

The construction of this new building and waterfront support area continues the expansion Austal USA began in March 2021 with the groundbreaking of the steel panel line. This latest expansion provides a new assembly bay which will enable the erection of large steel modules for Navy and Coast Guard ships, including the offshore patrol cutter (OPC) and TAGOS-25 programs.

Austal USA rendering

In addition to the manufacturing capacity of the new buildings, the expansion includes a shiplift that will provide a safe and reliable system to launch ships as they are completed in the assembly buildings. The shiplift will also enable bringing ships back on the landside facility for repair and maintenance.

The new assembly building will occupy 4.5 acres and will be approximately 400 feet long by 480 feet wide, providing over 192,000 square feet of new covered manufacturing space. It will consist of three bays enabling erection of the Coast Guard’s OPC and Navy’s TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance steel ships, as well as provide flexibility to manufacture modules for submarine and other surface ship programs.

Austal USA has partnered with Pearlson & Pearlson Inc., program manager and owner’s representative; Kiewit Infrastructure South Co., lead for design and construction; and Pearlson Shiplift Corp., designer and builder of the shiplift system, to execute the project.

The Pearlson-designed shiplift system will feature an articulated lifting platform approximately 450 feet long by 125 feet wide, capable of lifting and launching vessels in excess of 18,000 long tons. This capacity will facilitate the launch and docking of the U.S. Navy Constellation-class frigates, TAGOS-25 ships, Independence-variant littoral combat ships, and OPCs.

When this expansion is complete, Austal USA’ s Mobile, Ala. facility will include a 117,000-square-foot steel panel line, two module manufacturing facilities totaling over 1 million square feet of covered manufacturing space optimized for serial production, and seven assembly bays providing over 400,000 square feet of indoor erection space. In all, the Mobile facility covers 180 acres and, when this project is complete, over 1.5 million square feet of indoor manufacturing space.

– Austal USA

By Professional Mariner Staff