Austal USA is the American branch of operations for Australian shipbuilder Austal. The facility, based on Blakeley Island in Mobile, Alabama employed more than 3,100 workers in early 2012, and has since grown to a little over 4,000 employees and contractors as of 2018. Due to expanded shipbuilding contracts from the United States Navy, the company announced in March 2012 that it planned to invest an additional $160 million in upgrades to its facilities and to increase its workforce to roughly 4,000 employees in the next few years.
Austal USA is also currently constructing the Independence class of littoral combat ships (LCS) for the United States Navy, based on a 127 m (417 ft) advanced trimaran seaframe, with one completed and a second under construction as of 2010. In March 2015, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus testified before Congress that the Navy intends to purchase a total of 52 the vessels. The final 20 will be upgraded with new capabilities. The cost of each ship is about $350 million. On March 31, 2015, Austal USA signed a contract with US Navy worth $691 million for two Independence-class ships. Shipyard builds for the Independence class is in Mobile, Alabama. Under this contract, the company plans to request three LCSs per year through 2025.
It was announced on November 12, 2008 that Austal USA had won a U. S. Navy contract to build ten high-speed transport ships, known as the Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport (EPF). The design, with a catamaran seaframe, is drawn from the Austal-built MV Westpac Express. Unlike the Littoral Combat Ship, the Joint High Speed Vessel will be for transport, not combat. Austal USA signed a contract for 10 expeditionary fast transport (EPF). One of them, the Trenton completed acceptance trials March 13 and was delivered on April 13, 2015 to the Navy’s Military Sealift Command.