Mobile-based Austal USA has been chosen to lead a group of experts assisting development of a new additive manufacturing center of excellence for the Navy, working toward quicker supplies of submarine parts. In addition to additive manufacturing, the center will focus on non-destructive testing and other technologies.
“Recognizing the compelling need to increase manufacturing capacity within the industrial base, the Navy established the AM CoE to design a ‘build-to-print’ capability aimed at long lead time parts in order to achieve schedule adherence, build production reserves, and ultimately deliver Virginia and Columbia-class submarines to the nation,” Austal said in announcing its role.
Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Matt Sermon, executive director for PEO Strategic Submarines, said, “It has been nearly 40 years since the United States recapitalized its ballistic missile submarine capability and infused equivalent volumes and complexity of work into the industrial base. At every level in the Navy’s industrial base…workforce, technology, and the space where those two converge…are an absolute requirement for success. In cutting the ribbon today on the AM CoE, with partners like Austal USA and the other forward-leaning industry and academic leaders paving this path, we are securing our ability to innovate and execute faster and better than our adversaries, and that will be a fundamental differentiator in our future competitive landscape.”
The plan calls for the center to create “part recipes” that industry can use for serial production. In so doing, the plan is to bring additional industrial partners into the submarine marketplace.
Austal, which recently did work with General Dynamics Electric Boat to develop Command and Control Systems Modules and Electronic Deck Modules for the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet, is taking the lead of the AM expert group, which includes Phillips, Industrial Inspection and Analysis, IALR, FasTech, Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing, University of Virginia and The Spectrum Group.
“We recognize the recapitalization of our Nation’s nuclear forces is the Navy’s highest acquisition priority and Austal USA is committed to working with our Navy customers and critical industry partners to build a supply chain and industrial base that is resilient, competitive and sustainable,” said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “Through our serial production experience and as an advanced manufacturer, I’m confident our team will help build the capacity and capability that will continue to keep our warfighters ready.”