Austal, Ltd., an Australian-based designer, contractor, and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships, operates its only U.S. shipyard in Mobile, where it employs around 4,000 workers. The shipbuilding company has spent nearly $160 million over the last few years to upgrade its Alabama facilities and improve its growing workforce.
In 2008, the U.S. Navy contracted Austal to build 10 non-combat transport ships known as Spearhead class Joint High Speed Vessels. Austral later received another contract with the U.S. Navy in 2010 to build Littoral Combat Ships, a class of fast, lightweight warships intended for close-to-shore operations — each ship costs roughly $350 million.
In 2016, Austal awarded the Mobile shipyard a $326 million contract for two additional Alabama-built Expeditionary Fast Transport ships, which are versatile, high-speed and capable of conducting many missions. This contract supplemented the 2008 10-ship agreement between the Navy and Austal. It added an 11th and 12th ship to the program, pushing its value to $1.9 billion.
The shipyard continues to grow its numbers. In 2017, the U.S. Navy awarded Austal another contract worth up to $584 million to build LCS 30, which will become the 15th Littoral Combat Ship built in Mobile.