South Shields firm supplies best of British to the US Navy

The USS Makin Island.
The USS Makin Island.

The future is looking bright for a South Tyneside firm, thanks to a transatlantic link-up set to help the US Navy perform at its best in the heat of battle.

Solar Solve Marine’s South Shields factory has landed a contract to supply 16 anti-glare, heat-rejecting roller screens to the USS Makin Island, an 847ft-long amphibious assault ship weighing in at 12,821 tons before loading.

Paul Hopkins

Paul Hopkins

The Solasafe screens have been sent to San Diego in the US, and members of the Makin Island’s 1,100-strong crew have been promised that they are so simple to use that they will be able to fit them to its navigation bridge windows themselves.

The Tyne Dock company has specialised in providing sun and glare protection to the marine and offshore industry for almost 30 years, and it is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its launch this year.

USS Makin Island was laid down in February 2004, launched in September 2006 and commissioned in October 2009.

It is a landing helicopter dock with modifications allowing it to operate with more advanced aircraft and landing craft.

We are glad to be helping our allies and making sure that the officers and the ship are provided with British manufactured equipment.

Paul Hopkins

The Wasp class of ships to which it belongs is capable of transporting almost the full strength of a United States Marine Corps Marine expeditionary unit and taking it into hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters.

Solar Solve sales and marketing executive Paul Hopkins said: “Being able to supply sunscreens to yet another US naval vessel is a noteworthy event for our company.

“We are glad to be helping our allies and making sure that the officers and the ship are provided with British-manufactured equipment that assist in the safe navigation of the vessel.”