Austal Opens New U.S. Shipbuilding Facility
Mobile, Alabama-based Austal USA celebrated the grand opening of its new construction facility. The event recently took place just 11 months to the day after breaking ground on the project January 17, 2005. When added to the existing facility the new construction halls provides a combined total covered area of 16 500 square metres for ship production, roughly quadruple the existing facility. The expansion adds two large bays (each 41 meters wide) under a common roof for module fabrication, erection and component storage, connected by 2 mezzanine levels in the center, and 2 mezzanines on the outboard sides for shop space, material storage, and small assembly fabrication; two additional launch aprons in front of each bay; a combined wharf (bulkhead) length of 238 meters; and additional overhead cranes capable of lifting 80-ton modules in each bay.
The new facility will be used to construct the recently announced order of a 127 metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the US Navy. Austal is the seaframe designer and builder as part of the General Dynamics Team. The official keel laying ceremony is expected to take place in early 2006. In addition, Austal announced that an unconditional contract was confirmed for the order of two Austal Auto Express, 107-meter vehicle-passenger ferries for Hawaii Superferry (HSF). Construction of the first HSF ferry is underway in Austal USA’s existing shipbuilding facility.
For more information: www.austal.com