Austal USA has been awarded a US$3.6 million functional design contract to construct the new Navajo Class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) for the US Navy.
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The US subsidiary of Austal is set to prepare a functional design for the T-ATS — an 80-metre steel monohull vessel with multi-mission capability, built to support a variety of towing, salvage, search and rescue, oil spill response, humanitarian assistance and surveillance activities.
The T-ATS has also been designed to embark containerised systems including cyber, electronic warfare, and decoy and surveillance packages.
The functional design contract is Austal USA's first contract for the development of steel ships for the US Navy according to Paddy Gregg, Austal chief executive.
"Austal USA is now well on the path to delivering steel ships for the United States Navy and we couldn't be prouder of the hardworking team in Mobile, Alabama; now the fifth largest shipyard in the United States,” he said.
"Another major milestone in the continuing evolution of the Mobile, Alabama shipyard.”
Austal has been a defence prime contractor for over 30 years and has contracted more than 300 vessels for over 100 commercial and defence operators in 54 countries worldwide.
The company is expected to leverage its shipbuilding experience as part of the design contract, while also defining detailed requirements to construct, test, and deliver T-ATS ships in accordance with US government ship specifications.
Austal USA is currently delivering the Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Spearhead Class Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) programs for the US Navy.
Thirteen LCS and 12 EPF vessels have been delivered from the Austal's Mobile shipyard since 2009.