New Shiplift Will Expand Capacity & Flexibility at BAE Systems Jacksonville

Eric Haun

BAE Systems announced it will spend $200 million for upgrades aimed at increasing capacity and flexibility at its Jacksonville, Fla. ship repair yard. The investment covers the preparation, construction, procurement and installation of a modern Pearlson shiplift and land-level ship repair facility, giving the yard the capability to service a greater number of vessels more efficiently.

Located two miles from the Atlantic Ocean, at the intersection of the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, BAE Systems Jacksonville Ship Repair provides repair, maintenance, overhaul, conversion and marine fabrication services for a wide range of commercial and government vessels, from tugs to warships, serving both domestic and international fleets.

The shipyard, which drydocked 15 vessels last year, expects to accommodate even more vessels calling upon the port of Jacksonville in the years ahead, according to Tim Spratto, general manager at Jacksonville Ship Repair. “We anticipate a sustainable workload from the Navy, Coast Guard and other government customers’ vessels in the port,” Spratto said. “Growth in workload is expected from the commercial ship repair market with the introduction of this new ship repair capacity in Jacksonville.”

Central to the yard’s new repair complex will be a new shiplift, used for hauling ships out of and back into the water, as well as a self-propelled modular transport system for carrying ships to and from the new land-level facility.

(Image: BAE Systems)

Douglas Pearlson, president and CEO at Miami-headquartered Pearlson Shiplift Corporation, said his firm worked with BAE Systems to define and deliver a design that met both current and future ship repair needs, and he noted that the companies conducted an in-depth study of vessels operating in the area as well as anticipated growth for JAXPORT and Naval Station Mayport in the decades ahead. “Pearlson’s team worked with BAE Systems personnel on the ground in Jacksonville to deliver a comprehensive, detailed design that meets the shipyard’s needs. This included numerous working groups and round table sessions to ensure that there are provisions in the design to conduct ship repair work more efficiently and effectively with this new state-of-the-art shiplift and land level facility,” he said.

The end result will be a complex that boosts ship repair capacity near a significant trade hub and major U.S. Navy homeport. “The new Pearlson shiplift and land level facility for BAE Systems Jacksonville Ship Repair, when commissioned, will be the largest in North and South America and the most modern shiplift in the world. It will be capable of lifting and launching ships in excess of 25,000 long tons, with a platform that is 492 feet long and 110 feet wide,” Pearlson said.

(Image: BAE Systems)

Notably, for BAE systems, the new shiplift complex will increase its drydocking capacity from two large-hulled ships to as many as six vessels simultaneously. The facility will be able to accommodate vessels up to 600 feet long, 100 feet wide and displacing up to 10,000 tons. “The new facility will expand BAE Systems’ docking capacity by 300%, all enabled by a modern Pearlson shiplift system capable of lifting a Ticonderoga-Class Guided Missile Cruiser, Arleigh Burke-Class Guided Missile Destroyer, the new Constellation-Class Guided Missile Frigate or a Panamax commercial vessel, with laydown area ashore to refit and repair multiple vessels at one time,” Spratto said.

“This investment by BAE Systems recognizes the significant advantages that a Pearlson shiplift system can provide in terms of efficiency and capability to shipyards. Through the construction of one shiplift, BAE Systems will be provided with the capability to work on a multitude of vessels at any given time,” Pearlson said. “When completed, BAE Systems Jacksonville Ship Repair will join more than 275 shiplifts in 65+ countries around the World that are supported by Pearlson Shiplift Corporation.”

Jacksonville Ship Repair plans to begin on-site construction activities in early 2023, and Spratto said the yard will continue to function at full capacity with two marine railways and a 13,500-ton drydock through much of the construction period until the shiplift and land-level facility are certified and commissioned in 2025.

(Image: BAE Systems)

(Image: BAE Systems)

(Image: BAE Systems)

Maritime Reporter Magazine, page 37,  Jan 2023

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