Austal USA plans to break ground for its new steel shipbuilding facility in downtown Mobile Friday afternoon.
Local and state dignitaries are expected to be on hand for the event.
Plans for the facility have been in the works since last August, when the federal government allocated some $50 million to help the defense contractor expand capabilities to construction of steel ships. Up till now, Austal, which is Mobile’s largest industrial employer, has built aluminum ships.
The new facility is eyed as a $100 million investment.
Austal is under contract to the U.S. Navy for production of littoral combat ships and the auxiliary ship expeditionary fast transport.
In addition to is Mobile facilities, Austal USA has operations in San Diego, Seattle, Portland and Singapore. Its parent, Austal, is based in Henderson, Western Australia.