Shipyard president looking forward to a decade of work

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Northrup Grumman officially turned its ship building division over to Huntington Ingalls Industries Thursday Morning. The company had tried to sell the operation, but decided to spin off the ship building side of the business to Huntington.

"We are absolutely independent of Northrup Grumman as of this morning," said Huntington Ingalls President Mike Petters as he stood on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Huntington Ingalls Industries shares starting trading on Wall Street Thursday morning.

The company took over the shipbuilding division of Northrup Grumman. Petters said they plan to make Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula a major player in current and future contracts.

"I've seen shipyards all over the world. The shipyard at Ingalls is best set up for serial production of ships. It's completely flexible with brand new equipment. We're negotiating two new contracts with the Navy and we expect to close those out. We have three contracts behind that. We're contracting for the work that is going to take us through the next decade."

Huntington Ingalls will specialize in building the latest generation of ships for the Navy, and workers at Ingalls in Jackson County will be a big part of America's Global operations.

"Whether it's Japan, the Persian Gulf or the coast of Africa, the Navy is performing missions in our national interest and they're using products we build. The ships are there and we're proud of being a partner with the Navy. And we expect the Navy will be doing these kinds of missions for many years to come," said Petters.

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