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Austal to add over 1,000 jobs with expansion of Mobile shipyard

Austal USA announced plans today to expand its Mobile shipyard with the construction of an additional waterfront assembly facility to support the growth of shipbuilding in Alabama’s Port City.

The expansion project, fueled by a capital investment of more than $288 million, is set to create 1,032 new jobs over the next four years, according to the Mobile Chamber.

Austal announced its plans at a ceremonial groundbreaking at its facility this morning.

“This groundbreaking ceremony represents a significant milestone for the city of Mobile, the state of Alabama and the U.S. defense industrial base,” commented Austal USA President Michelle Kruger. “As we have done throughout our history, Austal USA is again expanding our facility to meet the needs of the Nation.”

This infrastructure expansion includes the construction of Final Assembly Building #2 (FA 2). The facility will feature three bays to build large steel modules including the Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) and the Navy’s TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance steel ships.

The expansion will also provide flexibility to manufacture modules for submarine and other surface ship programs.

FA 2 will provide 192,000 square feet of covered manufacturing space and will occupy four and a half acres to the south of Austal’s current waterfront facility.

“This is a big deal for the future of shipbuilding in Mobile,” said Mobile Chamber President and CEO Bradley Byrne. “The new Final Assembly 2 will provide job growth as the OPC and TAGOS-25 programs transition from design to production and enhance the infrastructure needed for future contract competitions.”

Alabama Shipyards

Growth plans

Once the expansion is complete, Austal USA’s Mobile facility will feature a 117,000 square foot steel panel line and two module manufacturing facilities with more than 1 million square feet of covered manufacturing space. It will also have seven assembly bays offering more than 400,000 square feet of indoor erection space.

The project also includes waterfront improvements, and a shiplift system to safely and reliably launch completed ships from the assembly buildings. The system features an articulated lifting platform capable of lifting, launching and docking vessels in excess of 18,000 long tons.

“Austal’s growth plans in Mobile will have a massive impact on the shipbuilding industry in the Port City,” said Ellen McNair, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“Not only will this expansion create more than 1,000 jobs with a significant new investment, but it will also broaden Austal’s manufacturing capabilities and solidify its future in Mobile,” she added.

Before launching a line to build steel ships in 2022, Austal’s Mobile shipyard built aluminum vessels for the U.S. Navy, including the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EFT).

Overall, the Mobile facility spans 180 acres and will encompass more than 1.5 million square feet of indoor manufacturing space.

“This is an exciting day for the entire Mobile region,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “Austal has proven it is invested in Mobile, and it is exciting to see its U.S. operations continue to grow here. Shipbuilding is an integral part of Mobile’s history, and thousands of our citizens continue to make a good living on the waterfront thanks to industry leaders like Austal.”

Mobile County Commission President Randall Dueitt said the project demonstrates the leadership of both Austal USA and Mobile County’s shipbuilding industry.

“The $288 million construction investment and more than 1,000 new jobs mean that Austal USA’s new waterfront assembly facility is yet another win for our local workforce because Austal’s AIDT training programs mean that local people have opportunities to prepare themselves for these new jobs,” he said.

To execute the project, 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.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

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