The US Navy has awarded Austal USA a US$145 million ($198.5 million) contract to build two towing, salvage, and rescue ships (T-ATS 11 and 12), its first steel vessel construction contract in the US.
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The T-ATS contract 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, Alabama.
According to Paddy Gregg, chief executive of Austal, 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.
“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.
The Navajo Class T-ATS has ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities, with a multi-mission common hull platform, capable of towing heavy ships. These ships will be designed to be able to support USN fleet operations and a variety of missions, including oil spill response, humanitarian assistance, and wide area search and surveillance.
Austal was initially awarded a US$3.6 million contract by the US Navy for the functional design of the Navajo Class T-ATS vessels. It has now been awarded the US$145 million ($198.5 million) fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract modification, to include the detailed design and construction of two T-ATS 11 and 12, as well as the option for the additional ships.
The contract modification establishes options for up to three additional T-ATS ships, which, if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value of the contract to US$385 million ($528.6 million).
Austal USA aims to utilise its proven ship manufacturing processes and innovative methods that incorporate lean manufacturing principles, modular construction and moving assembly lines; using the company’s new state-of-the-art enclosed steel production facility, which is set to open in April 2022.
Austal USA broke ground on its US$100 million steel manufacturing facility in March 2020.
The T-ATS award is one of several steel shipbuilding programs Austal USA is pursuing as it diversifies its capabilities. The shipyard previously announced it had submitted a bid to build the US Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter and continues to execute light amphibious warship (LAW) concept studies and preliminary design contract for the US Navy and US Marine Corps.
Austal’s new steel line and facility expansion also positions it to be a follow-on frigate yard for the US Navy.
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