Austal USA starts construction of its first steel ship

(MOBILE, Ala.) — Austal USA on Monday marked the start of construction on the company’s first steel ship, a U.S. Navy Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship (T-ATS 11).

The milestone was observed during a ceremony at which Rep. Jerry Carl, R-Ala., and Rear Adm. Thomas J. Anderson, U.S. Navy’s program executive officer for ships, spoke alongside Dave Growden, Austal USA vice president of new construction.

U.S. Navy rendering

“It seems like only yesterday we were breaking ground on our steel shipbuilding facility and here we are, a little over a year later, beginning construction on our first steel ship,” Growden said. “Our shipbuilders are excited to demonstrate how effectively their talent and our proven processes translate to steel production.”

Carl and Anderson both remarked on the importance of Austal USA’s emergence in the steel market and spoke to the quality of Austal USA-built ships.

“Congratulations to Austal USA for starting construction on the company’s first steel ship. This announcement is great news for Austal USA, south Alabama, and the defense interests of the United States,” said Carl. “Thanks to our top-notch workforce and strong shipbuilding track record along the Gulf Coast, Austal USA is now providing world-class steel ships for the U.S. Navy. I look forward to seeing this ship completed and be put to good use for years to come.”

Austal’s new 170,000-square-foot enclosed steel production facility houses computerized and robotic steel processing equipment. The new facility will operate using Austal’s proven ship manufacturing processes and methods that incorporate lean manufacturing principles, modular construction and moving assembly lines. Modules for T-ATS will be built in the new steel production facility before being transported to the final assembly hall to be erected.

T-ATS will provide oceangoing tug, salvage and rescue capabilities to support U.S. fleet operations and will be a multimission common hull platform capable of towing heavy ships. Delivery of T-ATS 11 is planned for late 2024.

– Austal USA

By Rich Miller