Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has broken ground for a new Unmanned Systems Center of Excellence (CoE) in Hampton, Virginia, US.  

The project will feature two buildings with a total area of more than 150,000ft² and will be built on the 20-acre Hampton Roads Center – North Campus.  

The CoE will mainly be used to perform prototyping, production and testing of unmanned systems.

The new centre will feature digital manufacturing infrastructure, precision machining capabilities, a surface finishing area, and a dedicated welding space. 

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said: “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.” 

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The new centre will generate over 250 jobs and allow partnership with the Newport News Shipbuilding division, which features advanced undersea system engineering capabilities. 

The first 22,000ft² building is scheduled to be completed by this year and the main 135,000ft² facility is expected to finish in the fourth quarter of next year. 

HII Technical Solutions’ Unmanned Systems business group president Duane Fotheringham 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.” 

Earlier this month, HII’s Technical Solutions division received a contract from the US Navy to provide the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG) with logistics support products and services.