Northrop Grumman Corporation has broken ground on a $64-million modernization project
at its Ship Systems sector's Gulfport Operations in Gulfport, Miss. The modernization project is expected to create the first large-scale advanced composite manufacturing facility to produce U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard ships.
The modernization will dedicate $30 million to increasing capacity for composite construction, $19 million for ship construction and outfitting improvements, $8 million for additional support facilities, and $7 million to upgrade distributive systems.
Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, principal speaker at the ceremony, told more than 200 guests and shipbuilders in attendance about the partnership between Northrop Grumman and the state and how this expansion project will economically benefit all parties involved.
"We're turning dirt here today and the economic impact will have a ripple effect throughout the state of Mississippi," said Musgrove. "On April 10, I signed Senate Bill 2886 into law, to seal our commitment to Northrop Grumman's expansion in Mississippi. We also made good on our pledge that we would bring higher paying and higher quality jobs to the people of Mississippi. We thank Northrop Grumman for investing their faith and confidence in us, as we have invested our faith and confidence in them. We believe the people of Mississippi will be better off as a result."
Northrop Grumman Ship Systems is one of the leading designers
of an all-composite Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the Navy. The
company is bidding to become the sole manufacturer of this 21st century
ship at its Gulfport Operations, which the company has designated its
Composite Manufacturing Center of Excellence.
"Composite technology is revolutionizing the shipbuilding
industry," said Dr. Philip A. Dur, Northrop Grumman corporate vice
president and president of the Ship Systems sector. "Composite
materials are stiffer and stronger by weight than steel and aluminum
counterparts, and result in a lighter weight ship that will save the
Navy thousands of gallons of fuel.
"This facility creates a future for shipbuilding on the
Mississippi Gulf Coast," Dur continued. "We're creating industry
advantage and staying more than one step ahead of our competition. And
we're creating opportunity - for employment, greater job security, a
more certain future, and a direct road that will bring all of us even
further out onto the cutting edge of shipbuilding technology."
Musgrove and the Mississippi Legislature were instrumental in
securing a $48 million bond issue
to complement Northrop Grumman's
capital investment for Ingalls Operations in Pascagoula and the
"The facilities here are the first phase of a project for
Gulfport Operations designed not only to increase output in composites,
but also to vastly improve the quality of service for the dedicated
shipbuilders gathered here today," said John B. (Jay) Foley III, vice
president of Ship Systems' Gulfport Operations. "This mission we are
undertaking required countless hours of planning, meeting and
negotiating and without the leadership of the governor's office, the
legislature, the Mississippi Development Authority and other
organizations, this project would never have gotten started. We thank
you all for your commitment to this vision and partnership."
Since becoming a part of Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in 2001,
Gulfport Operations has become one of the premier composite
manufacturing operations in the nation, contributing to such Ship
Systems programs as the LPD, DD(X), USCG Deepwater, Composite Hi-Speed
Vessel, and future surface combatants, as well as the LCS program.
Gulfport is focusing on construction of the revolutionary
Advanced Enclosed Mast/Sensor masts for the San Antonio (LPD 17)-class
of amphibious transport dock ships under construction at Ship Systems'
operations in New Orleans, La., and Pascagoula, Miss. These masts are
the largest composite structures ever installed on a U.S. Navy ship.