Ingalls Shipbuilding marks its 75th anniversary of building ships in Jackson County this year.
Over the years workers have produced and made repairs to countless ships and the company remains a pioneer in the production of warships for the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps.
Starting in 1938 as Ingalls Iron Works, the yard was bought by Litton Industries in 1961 and expanded into what was called “The Shipyard of the Future.” Northrop Grumman bought Litton in 2001 and 10 years later the Pascagoula and Newport News shipyards were spun off as Huntington Ingalls Industries, a publicly traded company headed by President and CEO Mike Petters. Irwin Edenzon is president of Ingalls Shipbuilding.
Huntington Ingalls Industries employs 37,000 in Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia and California, primarily at Ingalls Shipbuilding and Newport News Shipbuilding.
Spokesman Bill Glenn called Ingalls “one of the most modern and diverse shipyards in the country.”
Ingalls Shipbuilding is the largest private employer in Mississippi. About 10,000 Ingalls workers build surface combatants, amphibious assault, CG cutters and transport ships,on 800 acres in Pascagoula.
In Gulfport, about 500 employees work on composite components at the 120-acre facility.
The annual revenue of all Ingalls operations is about $3 billion, Glenn said. In Mississippi, Ingalls’ weekly payroll is $15 million, of which $11 million goes to Mississippians.
“When you have a company the size of Ingalls in a place like Pascagoula, obviously it’s very important to the local economy, and Ingalls has a significant economic impact on the state as well,” said Glenn.
In the last three years Ingalls has spent $405 million with suppliers based in Mississippi, he said.
Over the past three years Ingalls has paid over $57 million in Mississippi taxes. including property taxes and sales taxes.
On the philanthropy side, Ingalls donated nearly $376,000 to several Mississippi organizations in 2012, Glenn said.
Ships by Ingalls
Huntington Ingalls Industries is known for building more ships in more classes of ships than any other U.S. shipbuilder.
“We have four different classes of ships and 10 ships in production, including Avondale in Louisiana and in Gulfport,” Glenn said. There is a backlog of work valued at $7 billion.
Here’s a look at what’s made by Ingalls workers:
Ingalls Shipbuilding builds Aegis destroyers, the most advanced surface combatants in the world. Destroyers are considered the backbone of the Navy surface fleet and Ingalls is one of only two builders. Twenty-eight have been delivered and workers are constructing two more.
Ingalls is the only builder of the deckhouse for the Zumwalt class destroyer, the Navy’s next generation destroyer that is built to do battle close to shore, in the air and under water.
Ingalls is building the entire San Antonio class of amphibious assault force ships that will transport and land Marines and their equipment. Eight ships have been delivered and three are under construction.
Workers are building a new class of multi purpose amphibious assault ships, the America class,
for the Navy. The first ship, America, was christened last October and work on a second ship Tripoli has begun.
Ingalls has delivered three National Security Cutters to the Coast Guard and has two more under construction.
The advanced cutters are considered the flag ship and centerpiece of the Coast Guard’s updated fleet.
Besides celebrating its 75th anniversary later this year, Ingalls has a couple of other major milestones in 2013: the delivery of the America amphibious assault ship and the October christening of the Coast Guard cutter Hamilton.
With current and projected work at the shipyard, there is a big push to hire more skilled workers.
“We have a need for about 4,000 workers over the next 18 months, mainly craft workers, pipe fitters and welders,” said Glenn. “We’re recruiting around the state. By the end of the year we will have visited all 55 WIN Job Centers in Mississippi. We’re having job fairs and hiring events all the time. We have partnerships with the community colleges. We are recruiting heavily across the region.”
The new Maritime Training Academy, to be named for former Governor Haley Barbour, will open in the fall to train workers in shipyard skills and crafts.
Ingalls also awards grants to improve science and technology studies in schools in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.