Austal USA expanding with new assembly building, shiplift

(MOBILE, Ala.) — Austal USA has announced the start of design work for a new manufacturing facility, signifying a major expansion of the company’s Mobile shipyard capability.

The infrastructure expansion, which will be to the south of Austal USA’s current waterfront facility, will include a new assembly building, waterfront improvements, and a new shiplift system. Start of construction on the project is planned for summer 2024.

The construction of this new building and waterfront support area, which includes a Pearlson-designed shiplift, continues the expansion Austal USA began in March 2021 with the groundbreaking of the steel panel line.

Austal USA rendering

In addition to the manufacturing capacity of the new buildings, the shiplift will provide a safe and reliable system to launch ships as they are completed in the assembly buildings. The system will also enable retrieving ships and bringing them back on the land-side facility.

“With the steel panel line in full production, our expansion focus has shifted to the erection and launch facilities required to support our growing backlog,” said Austal USA Acting President Michelle Kruger. “This new facility is continuing evidence of the close relationship we have with our local community including our community leaders; local, state and federal political leaders; and, regional organizations such as the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.”

Austal USA has partnered with Pearlson & Pearlson, 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 new assembly building will consist of three bays and enable completion of recently awarded steel ship contracts as well as provide the flexibility to manufacture modules for submarine and other surface ship programs. The assembly building will be approximately 400 feet long by 480 feet wide, providing over 192,000 square feet of covered manufacturing space occupying 4.5 acres.

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-class ocean surveillance ships, Independence-variant littoral combat ships, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Heritage-class offshore patrol cutters.

When complete, Austal USA’ s Mobile 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