The US Department of Defence has awarded Austal USA, a $16.4 million contract to provide engineering and management support services for the Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship, USS Charleston (LCS 18).
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Austal will provide program management, advanced planning, engineering, design, prefabrication and material kitting. The work will be conducted by Austal USA across the Mobile, Alabama and San Diego, California facilities and completed by August 2019.
The order provides engineering and management services in support of work specification development, prefabrication effort and material procurement for post shakedown availability for the Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship, USS Charleston (LCS 18).
Austal CEO, David Singleton said, "Austal’s Independence Class, Littoral Combat Ship program supports industry throughout the United States. This program supports thousands of jobs, through the contributions of our supply chain, including with over 900 local suppliers in 41 states."
The Littoral Combat Ship is a 127-metre, frigate-sized vessel. Originally designed in Austal’s Centre of Excellence in Maritime and Shipbuilding in Henderson, Western Australia, these vessel are built at Austal facilities in Mobile, Alabama.
The program is in a full rate of production with several ships under construction simultaneously. With the additional two vessel order there will be 17 Independence Class vessels in service with the US Navy by the end of 2023.
Austal also builds fast catamaran transport ships for the US Navy under the Expeditionary Fast Transport program, with USNS Burlington (EPF 10) to be delivered before the end of the year.
Under the LCS program, the US Navy is acquiring a class of relatively small high-speed combat vessels designed specifically for a range of missions in inshore waters.
Speaking to Defence Connect earlier in the year, Singleton explained the growth of the company's business in the US, "Austal invented the high-speed, aluminium trimaran hull, the success of which has been amazing, particularly with the United States Navy, which has seen the company secure $10 billion worth of warships on the books, to be constructed at the shipyards in Mobile, Alabama."
Rather than a single design, the US Navy opted for two classes, the Austal-made Independence Class, which features a trimaran hull, and the Freedom Class single hull vessel made by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin.
Austal said the LCS has been identified as a key component of the US Navy’s ability to gain sea control through distributed lethality.
Austal is an Australian shipbuilder and global defence prime contractor which designs constructs and sustains some of the world’s most advanced commercial and defence vessels. Austal successfully balances commercial and defence projects and celebrates 30 years of success in 2018. Austal has designed, constructed and delivered more than 300 commercial and defence vessels for more than 100 operators in 54 countries worldwide. Austal is Australia’s largest defence exporter and the only ASX-listed shipbuilder.
The company maintains industry leading shipyards in Australia, the United States of America and Philippines and service centres worldwide. Austal delivers iconic monohull, catamaran and trimaran commercial vessel platforms – including the world’s largest trimaran ferry and multiple defence programs such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) for the United States Navy. Austal has grown to become the world’s largest aluminium shipbuilder.