Austal wins $1.6b order for additional US Navy ships

Two Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships. Source: US Navy

Australian shipbuilder, Austal, has been awarded construction contracts by the US Navy to build two additional Independence class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

These ships will be the sixteenth and seventeenth ships in the class to be delivered by Austal, with the value of each contract expected to fall under the congressional cost cap of US$584 million per ship (circa $1.6 billion for both vessels).

The US Congress on Tuesday approved the purchase of three new LCSs, namely LCS-29, LCS-32 and LCS-34. LCS 29 will be built by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, while LCS-32 and LCS-34 will be built at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.

The 127 metre, frigate-sized, vessel was originally designed in the Austal centre for excellence in maritime design, based in  Henderson, Western Australia. The vessel design has been transferred to Austal USA and the build is undertaken in Austal’s purpose-built shipyard, based in Mobile, Alabama, USA.

“This latest order from US Navy is a tremendous endorsement of the Austal LCS platform and further evidence of the important role Austal plays in building the United States Navy,” Austal CEO, David Singleton said. “We  continue  hearing  positive  feedback  from  the  fleet  commanders  on how  well  our  ships match their mission requirements as they operate globally.”

Austal USA employs 4,000 people at its headquarters and ship building facility in Mobile while its supplier network includes more than 2,200 businesses across 43 States. The company is delivering three LCS vessels to the Navy this  year

“We  remain  dedicated to building  these  ships  safely,  timely  and  with  the  quality  and craftsmanship that Austal has built our reputation on,” Singleton said.

The  LCS  has  been identified  as  a  key  component  to  the  US Navy’s  ability  to  gain  sea  control  through  distributed lethality. This,  along  with  the  highly-successful  Expeditionary  Fast  Transport  (EPF) program, positions the company well to rapidly and efficiently support the Navy’s desired fleet of 355 ships with affordable solutions.

Construction  of  LCS-32 is scheduled  to  begin in  2019  with  delivery  of  LCS-34 expected  to occur in mid fiscal year 2023.

Austal delivered the future USS Charleston (LCS 18) to the Navy last month and is scheduled to deliver USNS Burlington (EPF 10) before the end of the year. With eight LCSs and nine EPFs already delivered, Austal-built ships are impacting worldwide operations.