Austal Opens Washington Office

Providing local support to Navy customer.

Austal has announced the opening of Austal USA’s Washington DC Operations Office at 100 M Street, SE, Suite 310.  The facility will allow Austal Government Programs and Business Development personnel to use the location as a base of Washington DC operations.

The new Washington office director, Mr. Ronald Mahaffey, is a veteran of Huntington-Ingalls Shipbuilding, where he served as Director of Surface Combatant Operations. Prior to that assignment, Ron spent nearly 14 years in the post-delivery environment, working in the Ingalls Planning Yard on both the DD 963 and CG 47 programs.  Ron retired from the Navy in 1989 as a Chief Warrant Officer (CWO4) with over 30 years of expertise in the electronics field.  The Business Development team will be represented by Mr. Mike Webster, who transferred from his post as Chief Naval Architect to serve as the Washington Office’s Technical and Business Development Manager. 

“We have great people here,” said Mr. Rella, “and now we have a great facility to support them as they work to more efficiently support our Navy customer in Washington.” Austal was selected as prime contractor in November 2008 to design and build the first Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), with options for nine additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13 as part of a program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion.

The JHSV is a relatively new asset in the American arsenal, capable of transporting medium-size operational units with their vehicles, allowing warfighters to transit long distances while maintaining unit integrity. Each JHSV also supports helicopter operations and has a slewing vehicle ramp on the starboard quarter which enables use of austere piers and quay walls, common in developing countries. A shallow draft (under 4 meters) will further enhance theater port access.

USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) was christened on September 17 and is preparing for builders’ trials in the near future. Austal held a keel laying ceremony for Choctaw County (JHSV 2), which is under construction in the final assembly bay, in early November. Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL) recently joined Austal officials in commemorating the official start of fabrication for JHSV 3 which is scheduled for delivery in 2013. JHSV 3 is the fourth naval vessel to be constructed at Austal using the new procedures and processes developed in conjunction with Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF). The MMF provides Austal with assembly line efficiency, which has resulted in significant cost savings and reduced lead times for both of our Navy programs.

Austal USA is also currently preparing to launch a second Independence-variant 127-meter Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class vessel for the U.S. Navy, Coronado (LCS 4). USS Independence (LCS 2) is currently being put through trials by her crew. As prime contractor for the next LCS 10-ship contract, awarded by the U.S. Navy at the end of 2010, Austal has also begun work on the first ship of that contract, Jackson (LCS 6), with Montgomery (LCS 8) also under contract.
With its 13-year anniversary approaching, Austal has grown into one of southern Alabama’s largest employers with over 2,400 employees on staff hailing from the Mobile Area, Mississippi, Florida, and beyond.  Under the current workload, Austal expects to employ over 4,000 Americans by the end of 2013, and will be ready to help the U.S. Navy meet any national security contingency ahead.

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