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Huntington Ingalls Industries Closes Gulfport Composite Center of Excellence

Company cites limited and declining Navy demand for composite products

After building the composite deckhouse and hangar for the U.S. Navy’s DDG 1000 and DDG 1001, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is closing its Composite Center of Excellence in Gulfport, Miss. HII made the announcement in a Sept. 4 statement. The company says the current work at Gulfport is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2014, with closure expected by May 2014.

“This is a difficult but necessary decision,” said HII President and CEO Mike Petters.

The Navy announced on Aug. 2 that the third and final deckhouse would be built by Bath Iron Works with more traditional steel fabrication.

The center also produced composite mast enclosures for the Navy’s San Antonio class of amphibious transport docks.

HII Composite Center of Excellence and San Antonio class

An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter hauls cargo from the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Antonio (LPD 17) during a replenishment at sea in the Gulf of Aden July 30, 2013. San Antonio is part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. In addition to the composite deckhouses for the Zumwalt-class destroyers, Huntington Ingalls Industries built the composite masts for San Antonio-class LPDs in its Composite Center of Excellence. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Derek Paumen

“This is a difficult but necessary decision,” said HII President and CEO Mike Petters. “Due to the reduction in the Zumwalt-class (DDG 1000) ship construction and the recent U.S. Navy decision to use steel products on Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), there is both limited and declining Navy use for composite products from the Gulfport Facility.”

“Ingalls Shipbuilding continues to perform well in building the composite products for the Zumwalt-class (DDG 1000) program and has demonstrated considerable learning curve improvements,” said Irwin F. Edenzon, HII corporate vice president and president of Ingalls Shipbuilding. “We are working closely with our Navy customer to efficiently complete our composite work on Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) and the mast of Portland (LPD 27) by the end of the first quarter 2014.”

The company says the closure will affect HII 427 employees either through headcount reductions or transfers.

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Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...