The Associated Press (AP) reported on Aug. 11 that a money-saving move by the U.S. Navy has officials at Huntington Ingalls Industries (Gulfport, Miss., USA) unsure of the future for the company's Gulfport shipyard, which employs 650 people.
The AP report says Ingalls' Composite Center of Excellence held the first two contracts to build deckhouses for DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyers, but lost the third to General Dynamics' Bath Iron Works in Maine. The Gulfport plant also builds composite masts for the Navy's San Antonio (LPD 17) class of amphibious ships.
The Navy moved from composites to steel to save money on construction, Chris Johnson, a spokesman for the Naval Sea Systems Command, told the AP.
"HII was only under contract for the two composite deckhouses, two composite hangars and two sets of steel aft missile-launching cells," Johnson says in the report. Johnson says Huntington Ingalls' estimate for those two assemblies totaled $767 million.
In October 2012, Huntington Ingalls announced delivery of the composite deckhouse for the destroyer Zumwalt, the first in its class.
"This is a significant delivery in the history of Ingalls Shipbuilding," program manager Steve Sloan said in a 2012 press release. "Building composite ship structures takes a very unique skill-set and work ethic, and the men and women in Gulfport have done an outstanding job. This is one of the largest carbon composite structures ever built, and we are delivering a fine product with the utmost quality."
Click Huntington Ingalls AP report for original story.