Marinette Marine Corporation, a member of the Lockheed Martin (LMT)
(NYSE: LMT)-led Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) industry team, broke ground for a new panel-line fabrication building to support construction of the U.S. Navy
's LCS. The new building will improve the first stage of ship construction at Marinette Marine and decrease ship module travel distance throughout
the LCS construction process. The building will feature automation to increase efficiency and provide the capacity for storage of steel
and other raw materials.
In addition to this groundbreaking, Marinette Marine also marked the opening of its professional center and the completion of a project to expand its main indoor ship construction building. This expansion project nearly doubles the building's size and provides enough indoor space to simultaneously house two complete LCS hulls and parts for two additional ships.
These investments are part of a five-year, $100m plan by the shipyard's parent company, Fincantieri
, to modernize its U.S. shipbuilding operations, which will benefit the LCS program. In 2009, Marinette Marine installed higher-capacity overhead cranes, plasma-cutting tables and pipe-bending machines to increase efficiency and capacity.
"The projects underway at Marinette Marine will ensure our team continues improving efficiency for the LCS class," said Joe North
, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Littoral Ship Systems business. "As we enter serial production, the shipyard enhancements – combined with lessons learned from building two ships in this class – will enable us to meet the Navy's need for affordable and survivable warships."