Defense contractor GSE Dynamics Inc. is extending its reach into the composites market with the acquisition of production equipment and an $18.9 million U.S. Navy contract.
Under the contract, which extends previous similar deals, Hauppauge-based GSE will produce mast fairings, composite structures that house the periscope on Trident, Sea Wolf and Los Angeles class submarines.
The contract was announced by the Defense Department.
Composites now account for 30% to 40% of GSE's annual revenue, which is running at more than $20 million, according to the company's owner and chief executive Anne D. Shybunko-Moore.
GSE, known for producing metal assemblies for legacy military aircraft like the C-5, B-1, B-52 and the C-130, began branching into composites in 2005 when it acquired the business unit of General Dynamics in Glen Cove.
The composites business also has helped fuel the expansion of GSE's workforce from 40 in 2005 to 80 now, Shybunko-Moore said.
When the nonprofit Composite Prototyping Center sold its Plainview facility and staged an equipment auction in October, GSE pounced, acquiring more than 40 pieces to expand production, including testing equipment, an autoclave and an oven, used in processing composite parts.
"The addition of these items...enabled GSE to increase capacity and overall capability," she said.
Raymond Farrell, chairman of the Composite Prototyping Center's board, said in an email that the facility would be announcing new programs in the coming months.
GSE's contract is expected to run through January 2026.
GSE, which operates out of two Hauppauge facilities with a combined 87,000 square feet, was the sole bidder on the competitive contract.
It was awarded through the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Philadelphia.
Shybunko-Moore said the contract helps burnish the 50-year-old company's reputation in composite manufacturing.
"We're now looked at as a composites leader," she said.
The size of the Navy contract, however, will not overstretch the defense contractor.
"It's not a contract that will choke us," Shybunko-Moore said. "I don't want to get anything that's too big. This sits perfectly into our backlog."