Austal USA has started construction on the aluminum aircraft elevators for two U.S. Navy Ford-class aircraft carriers, Enterprise (CVN 80) and Doris Miller (CVN 81), currently under construction at HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division.

“Austal USA is excited to begin construction on the CVN aircraft elevators,” commented Austal USA Vice President of New Construction Programs Dave Growden. “This opportunity to demonstrate our advanced manufacturing capabilities to support a program critical to our Nation’s defense is welcomed by our talented workforce.”

The aircraft elevators are scheduled to be completed in November 2024 and March 2025, respectively. Austal USA will fabricate two shipsets of aluminum elevators, three elevators per ship, in its state-of-the-art module manufacturing facility (MMF) located in Mobile, Ala.

Austal’s MMF has been the critical component in Austal USA’s application of lean manufacturing to shipbuilding, resulting in continuous improvements in efficiency. With the completion of a major capital investment program in April 2022, the MMF is capable of efficiently producing both steel and aluminum modules, providing a unique capability to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard.

The start of construction follows the U.S. Navy’s recent award to Austal USA to construct up to seven TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance ships. It also follows on a string of significant awards for new ship construction, including the U.S. Coast Guard’s Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutters.