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Austal USA Unveils $200 Million Module Manufacturing Facility

Austal USA

In Numbers

  • Mobile, AL
  • 1,086,670 s.f.
    Square Footage
  • 13; 9; 12; 24 months
Joe Rella, Austal USA’s president and chief operating officer, ticked off a few facts about the first phase of the shipbuilder’s new $200 million manufacturing facility during a formal ribbon cutting Monday morning:


    • At 1,000 feet long and 350 feet wide, six football fields can fit inside it.


    • Tilted on its end, the facility would be the 12th tallest building in the United States, more than 250 feet taller than the RSA Tower.


    • The building contains more than 7,000 tons of steel.


But perhaps most impressive, Rella told the crowd of about 350 people, is that the facility was completed in less than a year, “a testament to the efforts of the Austal team and Gray Construction.”


Rella, along with Austal, the U.S. Navy and elected officials, said the facility promises to usher in a new era of shipbuilding, one where efficiency, quality and productivity are key. When phase two, a mirror image of the building unveiled Monday, opens, Austal will be able to build six vessels the scale of a littoral combat ship each year.


With the opening of the MMF (short for module manufacturing facility), “Austal takes its place among the most efficient and effective shipbuilders in the world,” said Bob Browning, Austal Ltd.’s chief executive officer. He described Austal’s launch of a Mobile shipyard in 2000 as “a bold and high-risk move” that has paid off.


In addition to the facility dedicated Monday, the shipbuilder has invested more than $120 million in infrastructure on the east bank of the Mobile River, he said.


Austal USA has been tapped by the U.S. military to build up to 10 fast-transport ferries, and is competing to build up to 55 of the new shallow-water littoral combat ship. Austal’s first LCS, Independence, is scheduled to start acceptance trials by the U.S. Navy later this week, and work is under way on a second vessel.


The shipyard has about 1,000 employees, and officials have said it will add about 400 more in the next six months.


Gov. Bob Riley thanked John Rothwell, Austal Ltd. chairman, for choosing Mobile as its U.S. headquarters, calling it the “Silicon Valley” of shipbuilding. Riley said the new facility is a testament to the “innovation and creativity” needed to build the best products possible for the U.S. military.


Addressing key decision-maker Rear Adm. William Landay, Riley said, “It’s now up to you to give us the opportunity to compete on cost, quality and innovation. Give us the ability to continue to make the best ships the Navy has ever had, here, in Mobile, Alabama.”


Gray representatives Stephen Gray, President and COO; Chris Allen, Executive Vice President; Jim Wilkerson, Concrete Services Manager; and Andy Allen, Concrete Project Manager attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. If you have manufacturing plant construction needs or are interested in additional Austal USA project information, please contact Chris Allen, Executive Vice President at


    Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a contributing author and not necessarily Gray.

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