Alcoa said that under the program it will adapt high-deposition gas metal arc welding technology to marine structures.
The welding technique is a semi-automated process that reduces weld passes. Welding quality is improved and labor costs are reduced. Initially, it will be used to the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship but could also be used on the Joint High Speed Vessel and other aluminum-intensive ships.
"Alcoa's materials knowledge and technical expertise provide a critical advantage to the Navy, allowing ship builders to streamline manufacturing and build a better ship at a lower cost," said Ray Kilmer, Alcoa executive vice president and chief technology officer.
"We see a growing opportunity in all the services to use Alcoa's technical expertise to help the United States stay on the cutting edge of military science through advanced materials, designs and manufacturing technique."
The value of the contract wasn't detailed but Alcoa said that in the past year it has received $8 million in research and development contracts in support of the U.S. military.