Austal USA broke ground on its steel manufacturing line on March 26 positioning the company to start steel production in April 2022. The addition of steel capability is designed to keep Austal USA as a major contributor to the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. 

“This world-class steel manufacturing line is a treasure for the Gulf Coast, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard that will provide a much-needed boost to the defense industrial base and our Nation’s defense,” Congressman for Alabama’s first district Jerry Carl said in a statement announcing the groundbreaking.

Today’s ceremony marked the start of a new era for Austal USA as the company adds steel shipbuilding capability to its growing business portfolio.

“As demand for the greater and larger Navy and Coast Guard fleets grows, Austal USA is investing to meet those changing requirements,” Rusty Murdaugh, interim president said. “We’re investing in our people, we’re investing in our processes, and we’re investing in our facilities and capabilities.”

During World War II, residents of Mobile built steel Liberty ships that were critical to the war effort. In the coming years, Austal will look to build and deliver steel ships needed by the U.S. Coast Guard and Navy.

Founded on innovation, effectiveness and efficiency, Austal USA will bring its proven lean manufacturing processes and facility design to the steel shipbuilding market, shipyard officials said. These processes have helped deliver 24 ships to the Navy in the last nine years.

“Each time we have invested in our facilities, our customers have seen a greater return on their investment,” Murdaugh said. “The steel ships that will come off this line will be the best, most efficient and most affordable steel ships in the Coast Guard and Navy fleets.”