Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) is America’s largest military shipbuilding company and a leading provider of mission-driven defense technologies. With their headquarters in Virginia and more than 26,000 employees in the state, the company plays a vital role in Virginia’s economy.

Meeting increased demand for unmanned underwater and surface vehicles

HII partnered with Clark Nexsen to design a new Unmanned Systems Center for Excellence on an accelerated schedule. The facility was needed to keep HII on the leading edge of advanced manufacturing technology. A 135,000 SF high-bay manufacturing building supports large-scale unmanned systems prototyping, production, and testing.


Office/Manufacturing Facility 135,000 SF; Manufacturing 22,000 SF






Architecture, Electrical, Fire Protection, Interiors, Mechanical, Plumbing, Structural

“Opening this initial facility immediately expands our unmanned systems capability and helps support the increasing needs of our customers who defend our national security,” said Andy Green, executive vice president of HII and president of HII’s Technical Solutions division.

To stay within the aesthetic guidelines of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) of the City of Hampton, metal panels with varying textures and colors blend the exterior with the surrounding development.

Employees and personnel are met with a light-filled two-story atrium as they enter the main lobby of the office building.

Flexibility and tight environmental controls

The success of the project depended on flexibility and tight environmental controls. Working with HII, the design team created a high-tech digital manufacturing infrastructure that is agile and reconfigurable for different production and systems integration projects. The space includes precision machining capabilities, a surface finishing area, and a dedicated space for welding.

Details of the final configuration of the high-bay manufacturing space are confidential.

A strategy for noise reduction

The campus is located near Langley Air Force Base. Consequently, the design of the building envelope must meet the required STC level for noise reduction. After studying the acoustical values of insulated metal panel systems and cavity wall design, a solution of using acoustical baffle panels in the double-height space reduces sound infiltration.