Austal shifts focus to future naval warfare opportunities

Image: Austal

Austal will focus on their existing construction program and seek new opportunities for US projects.

The company has been awarded contracts for autonomous and unmanned ship research and development.

Austal was competing to build Guided-Missile Frigates FFG(X) for the US Navy, but was recently advised they were not successful.

Austal CEO David Singleton said while the award of the contract to an alternate bidder was disappointing, Austal would focus on completing current projects and identifying new opportunities for its Alabama shipyard.

“We have contracted orders for Littoral Combat Ships and Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) that extend through to 2024 and a portfolio of opportunities we have been developing for some time, including EPF variants and unmanned vessels, which are the future of naval warfare,” he said.

“Importantly, Austal USA has excellent shipbuilding facilities and a professional workforce which builds highly capable and cost-effective ships.

Austal was in a four-way competition to construct the FFG(X), and had proposed an enhanced version of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) it is currently manufacturing for the US Navy.

Austal USA had delivered 11 Independence-variant LCS, with six more under construction and two awaiting start of construction.

“In addition, we had made the building of our support business a strategic focus, which will provide revenue and opportunities for many years to come,” Singleton said.

The company has also delivered 11 Expeditionary Fast Transports with two more under construction and one awaiting start of construction.

With 22 Austal ships delivered, the company’s global services division is growing as it supports supporting the U.S. Navy’s fleet maintenance and modernisation.

Austal is currently in a trading halt, having requested that trading halt pending announcement of an Australian shipbuilding contract.