Defence Minister Christopher Pyne says the success of Australian shipbuilder Austal in being awarded contracts to build two more ships for the US Navy is a victory for Australian industry.
Minister Pyne and Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo congratulated the Western Australia-based company for being awarded a contract to build two additional Independence Class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).
Austal has already delivered eight ships to the US Navy, with others fitting out, under construction and planned. The two additional vessels will be the 16th and 17th in this class.
The 127-metre, frigate-sized, 3,000-tonne LCS vessels were designed at Austal’s Centre for Excellence in Maritime Design in Henderson, WA, and will be built at the Austal USA yard in Mobile, Alabama.
These high speed vessels are intended to conduct a range of missions in inshore waters. A second LCS class – the Freedom Class – is made by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin.
The deal is worth around US$1.6 billion for both vessels.
“This is an outstanding success and comes after Austal won the contract to build 21 Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boats in WA,” Minister Pyne said.
“The patrol boats will be delivered to Pacific nations as part of our Pacific Maritime Security Program.”
Minister Ciobo said he hoped to see even more Australian companies achieving export success like Austal.
“Through the Defence Export Strategy we want to become a top 10 defence exporter and I encourage other Australian companies to get in touch with the Defence Export Office to find out what support is available to them,” he said.
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The latest US Navy contract award follows an announcement by the government of Trinidad and Tobago in July 2018 that it would purchase two of Austal’s Cape Class Patrol Boats.
The company has also delivered Cape Class Patrol Boats to the Australian Border Force and Royal Australian Navy.
Austal is constructing the 21 new Guardian Class Pacific Patrol Boats for Pacific island and regional nations to replace older vessels delivered between 1985 and 1997.
The new vessels are intended to maintain the capability of regional nations to perform fisheries protection, protect against trans-national crime and conduct search and rescue missions.