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Austal USA started operations in 1999 with under 100 employees on a 14-acre facility that consisted of a 90 x 60 assembly bay fronted by a 380-foot wharf. The original support staff of six included three vice presidents and their assistants and the team worked in a double-wide trailer.
The first major expansion was completed in November 2005, shortly after Austal began designing the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship for the U.S. Navy. This expansion included two additional assembly bays, two launch pads, and a combined wharf (bulkhead) length of 750 feet.
Over $400 million has been invested in the expansion of Austal's state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility and the company has grown employment to over 4,000 professional and production staff. The 164-acre campus includes four final assembly bays, a 700,000 square foot Module Manufacturing Facility, two office buildings, an administration building housing the Navy's program support staff, and a drive-through warehouse. Austal is also constructing a Vessel Completion Yard that serves as the final location for its ships prior to acceptance trials, delivery and sail away.
The company's growth would not have been possible without the assistance of the City of Mobile, Mobile County and the State of Alabama along with several significant federal grants. All three community partners made financial contributions to Austal's expansion efforts and the State also supports workforce development and training.
In return for employment commitments, which have been reached by Austal, the State built the AIDT Maritime Training Center – a 60,000 square foot training facility located just east of the Austal facility. The State has provided Austal exclusive use of 40,000 square feet of this facility, the use of which has allowed the company to increase the availability of skilled labor to the Gulf Coast maritime industry. Fifty percent of our new workforce is trained in the MTC and 100 percent receives post-employment training and certification in the MTC.