Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has broken ground on a new Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence in Hampton, Virginia. The 20-acre facility will consist of two buildings totalling over 150,000 square feet, and will be purpose-built for the prototyping, production and testing of UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles) and USVs (unmanned surface vehicles).
The new state-of-the-art facility will feature a high-tech digital manufacturing infrastructure and will be reconfigurable for different production and systems integration projects, with precision machining capabilities, a surface finishing area and a dedicated welding space. HII partnered with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the city of Hampton and the Hampton Roads Alliance to secure the project for Virginia. More than 250 jobs will be created, enabling collaboration with HII’s Newport News Shipbuilding division, which has advanced undersea system engineering capabilities.
The first 22,000-square-foot building will be completed by the end of 2020. The main 135,000 square-foot-facility is planned to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021.
Andy Green, HII executive vice president and president of Technical Solutions, commented: “With the U.S. Navy’s increasing demand for UUVs and USVs, we are committed to investing in and expanding our unmanned systems capabilities. Our new Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence will ensure we can continue to provide our customers with the most advanced autonomous systems across all class sizes.”
Governor Ralph Northam stated: “Virginia is proud to be home to the largest military shipbuilder in the country. Huntington Ingalls Industries is a national leader in advanced manufacturing, and this investment is a powerful testament to Virginia’s workers and business environment. The company’s new unmanned systems facility in Hampton will support America’s national security and play a key role in strengthening our economic recovery as we continue working to rebound from this health crisis.”
Duane Fotheringham, president of HII Technical Solutions’ Unmanned Systems business group, said: “The new campus complements our current facilities in Massachusetts, Florida and Washington that have been delivering marine robotics to the Navy for nearly 20 years. In order to manufacture and support large and extra-large UUVs, the size of the manufacturing operation needs to increase significantly. This new facility will give us the space and infrastructure we need to scale our operations to meet the needs of our customers now and into the future.”