Austal USA Expands with Opening of San Diego Ship Repair Facility

Austal USA opens San Diego repair yard
Rendering of the completed San Diego yard with the dry dock which will be commissioned later this year (Austal USA)

Published Feb 14, 2023 6:28 PM by The Maritime Executive

Fourteen months after announcing plans to take over the existing ship repair yard in San Diego operated by Marine Group Boat Works, Austal USA celebrated the opening of the company’s new as part of its expansion plans. The U.S. division of the Australian shipbuilder is positioning itself to expand its work for service contracts with the U.S. Navy and other government repair contracts with a facility located adjacent to the Navy’s home port.

During the opening ceremony on February 13, Austal highlighted that its new facility, located adjacent to Naval Base San Diego, will provide full-service repair, maintenance, and modernization services for small surface combatants, unmanned and autonomous vessels, and auxiliary ships. Austal USA already has service contracts for both series of Littoral Combat Ships, including the Independence-class of Littoral Combat Ships that evolved from an Austal project and were built at the company’s Mobile, Alabama yard.

Austal USA completed the agreement with Marine Group Boat Works in December 2021 to take over the lease for the 15-acre facility located in National City, just south of San Diego. Since finalizing the agreement for the property, Austal USA reports it has invested over $100 million in facility upgrades and a new floating dry dock. The site now provides 678 feet of improved San Diego Bay shoreline, 80,000 square feet of covered working space, and has been equipped with new pier fenders and moorings, modernized shore power conversions, and enhanced security.


Ceremonies at the opening of the new San Diego facility on February 13 (Austal USA)


“As much as this is a significant day for Austal USA, this is a significant day for our Nation, Navy and Coast Guard customer, the National City community and surrounding port tenants, as well as our fellow industry colleagues,” said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh during the dedication ceremonies. “Together, we have a shared commitment to maintaining an operationally ready and available surface fleet and we are proud to join a community here on the southwest waterfront dedicated to that mission.” 

The new facility's first project for the U.S. Navy involved work on the USS Canberra (LCS 30). The Independence-class LCS was built by Austal in Mobile and delivered to the Navy in December 2021. The vessel arrived at its homeport in San Diego in June 2022 and has undergone its shakedown. Austal is currently undertaking post-shakedown work on the vessel.

The company’s new floating dry dock is reportedly on schedule to be fully operational by summer 2023. At that point, the yard will have the capability to execute more extensive depot maintenance on Littoral Combat Ships, Frigates, and other similar-sized surface combatants and auxiliaries.

With the existing repair and service capabilities located in Mobile, and Singapore, plus the recent expansions into steel shipbuilding, and its technology center in Charlottesville, Virginia, Austal USA plans to use the San Diego shipyard to continue its growth as a full-service defense provider. The company has been providing repair services to the US as a defense contractor for nearly 20 years.