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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Austal USA
IndustryShip building
United States
ProductsAluminium commercial and
defense vessels
RevenueA$1.16 billion (2018)
A$83 million (2018)

Austal USA is a shipbuilder based on Blakeley Island in Mobile, Alabama. It is a subsidiary of Austal.


In 1999, Austal and Bender Shipbuilding & Repair Co formed a 70:30 joint venture to build ferries.[1] In September 2006, Austal bought out its partner.[2]


The Alakai during sea trials in 2007 for Hawaii Superferry
The Alakai during sea trials in 2007 for Hawaii Superferry

Austal USA's first contract was for two crew supply vessels for service in the Gulf of Mexico.[3] These were followed by a ferry for Lighthouse Fast Ferry of New York.[4]

Austral USA built the Lake Express for service across Lake Michigan, and the Alakai for Hawaii Superferry. Huakai, the second high-speed vehicle-passenger catamaran for Hawaii Superferry has been launched at Austal USA. At 113 meters (371 feet) long, the new vessel is 6 meters (20 feet) longer than the Alakai, thanks to a bi-fold ramp, added by Austal to its stern, for use in austere ports without shore-side loading facilities, making it suitable for military use. The National Geographic Channel series MegaStructures featured an episode in September 2007 that detailed the construction, launch, and sea trials of the Alakai, the first catamaran Hawaii Superferry.[5]

Austal USA is also currently constructing the Independence class of littoral combat ships for the United States Navy, based on a 127 m (417 ft) advanced trimaran seaframe, with one completed and a second under construction as of 2010.[6] In March 2015, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus testified before Congress that the Navy intends to purchase a total of 52 the vessels. The final 20 will be upgraded with new capabilities. The cost of each ship is about $350 million.[7]

USS Independence (LCS-2) at the Austal USA shipyards along the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama
USS Independence (LCS-2) at the Austal USA shipyards along the Mobile River in Mobile, Alabama

It was announced in November 2008 that Austal USA had won a United States Navy contract to build ten Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ships. The design, with a catamaran seaframe, was drawn from the Austal-built MV Westpac Express. Unlike the Littoral Combat Ship, the Joint High Speed Vessel is for transport, not combat.[8]

On July 22, 2010, Austal USA hosted a keel-laying ceremony at its shipyard to signify the erection of the first modules on USAV Spearhead (JHSV 1), lead ship in the 10-ship Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program, The JHSV program has a potential worth of over $1.6 billion for the company.[9] On December 27, 2012, the navy awarded its final option under its current contract, and ordered JHSV-10.[10]

On March 31, 2015, Austal USA signed a contract with US Navy worth $691 million for two Independence-class ships. Shipyard builds for the Independence class is in Mobile, Alabama. Under this contract, the company plans to request three LCSs per year through 2025.

Austal USA also signed a contract for 10 Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs). One of them, the Trenton (JHSV 5) completed acceptance trials March 13 and was delivered on April 13, 2015 to the Navy's Military Sealift Command.[11]

On May 5, 2016, Austal USA has been awarded a $18.5 million contract from the Navy for the 12th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel.[12]

On March 31, 2020, the Department of Defense announced that Austal USA was awarded a $7.7 million contract for work on the littoral combat ship, USS Kansas City. The USS Kansas City "is the Navy's 11th Independence-class littoral combat ship." It is expected to be completed by May 2021.[13]


Unionizing efforts

Following complaints from the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association (SMWIA), Austal USA has twice been found to have engaged in unfair labor practices with respect to the organizing effort of unions by the National Labor Relations Board. Unionization had been rejected by employees in elections held in May 2002 and April 2008.[14] A third attempt in August 2011 was again rejected with a vote of 613 against unionization to 367 for it. The SMWIA filed a new complaint with the labor board after the result.[15]

Discrimination allegations

In March 2008, the company was sued by 22 employees for alleged racial discrimination and a hostile work environment.[16] The company was found not guilty in separate discrimination trials that culminated in October 2011 and January 2012. A request for a new discrimination trial was rejected in March 2012 by a federal court.[17] After appeals, seven of the plaintiffs were allowed to proceed to trial. Juries found in favor of Austal USA in April 2015.[18]


  1. ^ US Joint Venture Austal December 21, 1999
  2. ^ Austal Acquires Minority Interest Austal September 18, 2006
  3. ^ Austal USA Secures Two Vessel Contract Austal February 8, 2001
  4. ^ Austal USA Sign Contract for Sale of 26m Stock Vessel May 28, 2002
  5. ^ "Austal-built Hawaii Superferry to Feature on National Geographic". "Austal Corporate Website". Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  6. ^ "Austal Wins Second Littoral Combat Ship Order". "Austal Corporate Website". Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  7. ^ Finch II, Michael (17 March 2015). "Navy Secretary Ray Mabus urges lawmakers not to slow production of littoral combat ships". Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  8. ^ Austal in Mobile wins $1.6B Navy contract Press-Register November 3, 2008
  9. ^ "Keel Laying Ceremony for Spearhead JHSV." Maritime News. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  10. ^ "Navy Exercises Tenth JHSV Construction Option". Marine Log. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  11. ^ "Flurry of Contracts Spark US Navy Shipbuilding". Retrieved 11 August 2016.
  12. ^ Sam LaGrone (5 May 2016). "Austal USA Awarded Long Lead Contract for 12th EPF". USNI News. United States Naval Institute. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Austal nabs $7.7M for work on USS Kansas City". UPI. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  14. ^ Murtaugh, Dan. "Union gets third shot at Austal workers." Press-Register, June 5, 2011.
  15. ^ Murtaugh, Dan (17 August 2011). "Austal union election result contested by Sheet Metal Workers". Press Register. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  16. ^ Murtaugh, Dan "Austal race claims must go to trial, federal judge rules." Press-Register, April 27, 2011.
  17. ^ Kirby, Brendan (26 March 2012). "Judge denies request for new trial in Austal discrimination case". Press Register. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  18. ^ Toner, Casey (2 April 2015). "Austal did not tolerate racial harassment, juries rule". Retrieved 3 April 2015.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 May 2020, at 22:03
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