Austal starts building first steel ship in new facility
MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - With a push of a button, construction is officially underway on Austal’s first steel ship.
“Being able to turn out a steel product gives us actually two options steel and aluminum when we look at government bids,” said Representative Jerry Carl.
After delivering multiple aluminum ships to the Navy over the last several years, Austal’s new 117,000-square-foot facility makes them even more valuable to the military.
“We do this at a critical time for our Navy and our nation at a time when our competitors and I’ll be specific Russia and China look to displace us on the global stage,” said Rear Admiral Tom Anderson.
Austal already has three high-value contracts to build steel ships with the first one being a towing, salvage, and rescue ship called the T-ATS 11.
“T-ATS 11 and the Navajo class will be deployed to support a range of missions such as open ocean towing, rescue salvage, oil spill response, and a wide area of search and surveillance operations,” added Anderson.
In order to fulfill these contracts, Austal plans on adding more jobs for the steel facility starting with engineers to help with designing the ships. Austal President Rusty Murdaugh says more jobs could be coming after that.
“If we win all the programs we’re looking at we’ll grow back up to 3,500 to 4,000 employees depending on how successful we are and how many follow-on orders we have,” said Austal President Rusty Murdaugh.
Austal says it’s the smallest of the three ships that they have contracts for so it should take about 20 months to finish.
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