Shipping and Logistics

Austal USA To Build New US Navy Steel Vessel

Written by David Schollaert

Shipbuilder Austal USA has been awarded a design contract to build a new ship for the U.S. Navy. The agreement, valued at $3.6 million, is for the functional design and construction of the new 80-meter (252.5 foot) Navajo-class Steel Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS).

This follows recent news of Austral USA’s new steel manufacturing line to build steel ships for the Navy and Coast Guard in Mobile, Ala., expected to begin production next April. The company, best known for its construction of aluminum vessels, will utilize high-strength and corrosion-resistant steel plate to construct steel ships. Southern-based steel producers and plate suppliers stand to benefit from the Austal USA’s investment.

“In June 2020, Austal announced our intention to invest approximately $100 million in steel shipbuilding capability at Mobile, Alabama, co-funded by the U.S. Government,” added Gregg. “In March 2021, the Austal USA team broke ground on new steel shipbuilding facilities and now, we have received the first contract to design the steel-hulled Navajo-class T-ATS ships for the United States Navy.”

The T-ATS steel monohull vessel— Austal USA’s first contract for the development of steel ships for the Navy—will be a multi-mission capable ship. It will support a variety of towing, salvage, search and rescue, oil spill response, humanitarian assistance, and surveillance activities. Its capabilities will include: cyber, electronic warfare, and decoy and surveillance packages, according to Austal USA.

“The T-ATS functional design contract is Austal USA’s first contract for the development of steel ships for the United States Navy,” said Paddy Gregg, Austal Limited CEO. “It marks another major milestone in the continuing evolution of the Mobile, Alabama shipyard.”

The shipbuilder is currently delivering the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) programs for the U.S. Navy. In total, the company has delivered 24 aluminum vessels to the Navy in the last nine years from its Mobile Alabama shipyard.

“Austal USA is now well on the path to delivering steel ships for the United States Navy and we couldn’t be prouder of the hardworking team in Mobile, Alabama; now the 5th largest shipyard in the United States.”

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

Read more from David Schollaert

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