skip to main content

Steel berth: Austal USA wins more navy work with new production line

Austal USA is winning US naval contracts with its new steel production capability. (Austal USA)

With the sunsetting of US Navy (USN) programmes such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPFs), the American naval shipbuilding future looked grim for the rest of the decade.

To bolster its flagging USN shipbuilding chances, Austal USA supplemented its existing aluminium shipbuilding operations with a new steel production line to battle for USN and US Coast Guard (USCG) contracts – diversifying to do work for other larger naval platforms as well.

The shipyard has been running the steel line alongside the aluminium line as it has started to finish LCS and EPF contracts.

The effort has paid off handsomely so far, Larry Ryder, vice-president of business development, told Janes, with Austal USA winning USN contracts for T-ATS Navajo-class towing, salvage, and rescue ships, and USCG Offshore Patrol Cutters (OPCs). At the same time, not only has the shipyard maintained its LCS and EPF schedules, but the company has also managed to create a new special autonomous EPF model – in production stride – to meet surging USN unmanned surface vessel (USV) needs.

β€œWe've got the steel line up and running,” Ryder said. β€œThe conversion was completed on schedule on one side of the line. It's going even better than I had expected. Instead of having a total reliance on one or two programmes, we're more balanced. We're a much more diverse company today. We're in a much better place.”

Along with the installation and development of a steel panel line, Austal USA also built a blast-and-paint facility to support the steel production, Ryder noted. After some tweaking, the shipyard began running steel and aluminium lines simultaneously.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...