Austal USA delivered its second Independence Cass littoral combat ship (LCS) to the US Navy for 2021, with an additional four still under construction.
The delivery of the USS Canberra marks the second LCS that the company delivered to the US military over the course of 2021, with the future USS Santa Barbara and USS Augusta launched but yet to be commissioned, and the future USS Kingsville and USS Pierre still under construction.
Austal USA confirmed that an additional two Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels are also under construction.
Paddy Gregg, chief executive of Austal Limited, welcomed the launch of the vessel – named after Australia’s capital – with Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne sponsoring the ship.
“We were honoured to have senator Marise Payne lay the keel for the future USS Canberra in March 2020, and now we’re very pleased to be delivering the completed vessel to the Navy, on time and on budget,” Gregg said.
“Canberra is the 15th Independence Class littoral combat ship that Austal USA has delivered to the US Navy, since 2010; an outstanding track record for a multibillion-dollar program, comprising 19 ships in total.
“Add on the twelve Spearhead Class expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessels that Austal USA has also delivered, during roughly the same timeframe, and you get a clear picture that our Mobile, Alabama shipyard is an incredibly efficient, value-adding asset within the United States’ defence industrial base.”
Earlier in the year, Austal USA was also awarded a contract for the design and construction of two towing, salvage and rescue (T-ATS) ships for the US Navy, in addition to several sustainment contacts for the LCSs.
The T-ATS contract, valued at US$145 million, is the first steel ship construction program awarded by the US Navy to Austal USA and will be the first program to be delivered in the new steel shipbuilding facilities nearing completion at the shipyard in Mobile.
According to Gregg, following on from the successful addition of steel shipbuilding in Australia, the contract with the US Navy was an exciting milestone in the history of the company and a great demonstration of the company’s new steel shipbuilding capabilities in the US.
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“This is great news for Austal USA as they enter a new era of steel shipbuilding in the United States, supporting the Navy’s requirements for steel ships,” Gregg said.