Taber Extrusions LLC and Austal USA have entered into contracts for Taber to supply extruded products for the Austal USA Littoral Combat Ship Jackson (LCS 6), as well as Austal USA’s Joint High Speed Vessel Fortitude (JHSV 3). Extrusions used on these all-aluminum vessels make up some of the ship’s decking, superstructure and bulkheads. Some structural extrusions for both ships will also be manufactured by Taber and supplied to Austal through a contract with O’Neal Steel Corp.
Taber operates manufacturing facilities in Russellville, AR and Gulfport, MS. The extrusions to be provided for the LCS and JHSV programs will be produced at both facilities. According to Taber: “The use of our 8,600-Ton extrusion press with its unique rectangular container and billet configuration enables us to successfully produce wide multi-void extrusions that are friction stir welded into panels. The combination of the superior metal flow patterns associated with our rectangular configuration along with the press size gives us an advantage over competitors trying to make similar extrusions with round containers on smaller presses. The unique flow pattern in this design allows us to hold much tighter tolerances for flatness, straightness and twist as well as assure that critical thickness dimensions on the internal webs are achieved. We also produce tee extrusions in various alloys that are friction stir welded into panels.”
Taber’s ability to hold tight tolerances has allowed for a significant increase in productivity in the friction stir-welding rates and reduced downstream scrap and weld repairs. Taber maintains an exemplary record for quality and on-time delivery.
Taber’s President, Mr. Bill Wetmore, commented: “Our quality and delivery record has given Austal the confidence to expand our business relationship. We look forward to working with Austal on both of these major programs for many years.”
The U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding plan envisions building 55 Littoral Combat Ships accounting for about 18% of the Navy’s planned 313-ship force. Austal is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, serving as ship systems integrator, responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s mission systems. Jackson (LCS 6) is the first ship awarded under Austal’s recently announced US Navy contract for construction of up to an additional 10 Littoral Combat Ships to be appropriated over the following five years with a total value exceeding $3.5B.
The JHSV program provides high-speed transport vessels for the Army and the Navy. These vessels will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment. The JHSV program merges the previous Army Theater Support Vessel (TSV) and the Navy High Speed Connector (HSC), taking advantage of the inherent commonality between the two programs. Authorization to proceed with construction of JHSV 3 was granted in January 2010 and authorization to procure long lead time material for JHSV 4 & 5 was granted in June 2010. The current program with all awards is for total 10 ships for use by Army, Navy, and Marine Corps. The first ship is intended to be delivered in year 2011.
Taber Extrusions’ unique capabilities in wide, long and complex extrusion profiles and our experience in manufacturing such shapes in both the 5000 and 6000 series alloys has made Taber the extruder of choice for the next generation of aluminum ships. Furthermore, Taber is the only U.S. based manufacturer of 5000 series aluminum extrusions designed primarily for the ship building market to maintain an uninterrupted supply for over 35 years.