Navy wants two more Littoral Combat Ships from Austal

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A Littoral Combat Ship (left) and an Expeditionary Fast Transport sit docked at Austal USA’s manufacturing facility on the Mobile waterfront. ([email protected])

Austal USA apparently will continue its hot streak: The Department of Defense has indicated that in its fiscal 2019 budget cycle, two of three contracts for Littoral Combat Ships once again will go to the Mobile-based shipbuilder.

The contracts themselves haven’t been finalized or awarded, but word emerged over the weekend that the Department of Defense had “issued a fixed-price-incentive firm target modification to a previously awarded contract to exercise options for the construction of two fiscal 2019 littoral combat ships.”

In Australia, home of parent company Austal, the West Australian announced the news under the headline “Austal strikes again in US warships contract win.” Its report said that “Austal’s prospects of building frigates for the US Navy have been further bolstered by an order worth up to $1.6 billion to build two more littoral combat ships.”

Confirmation came in tweets from Austal and from the U.S. Consulate in Perth

Austal strikes again in US warship contract win

The shipbuilder’s prospects of delivering frigates for the US Navy have been further bolstered by an order worth up to $1.6 billion to build two more littoral combat ships.

“To be awarded two more LCS contracts before the end of the year is beyond exciting,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “This contract directly reflects the confidence the U.S. Navy has in Austal USA and our supplier base of over 10,000 nationwide and our ability to build highly capable ships at an affordable cost.”

Austal USA says it has delivered eight of the ships, has six under construction and three awaiting the start of construction. On Friday, it held a keel authentication ceremony for LCS 26, the future USS Mobile. The two newly awarded ships will be LCS 36 and LCS 38.

Future USS Mobile taking shape at Austal USA

“The skill, hard work, and dedication of our employees is second to none and strengthens as we continue to play an important role in helping build the Navy’s 355-ship fleet,” said Perciavalle.

The West Australian’s mention of a frigate program refers to the U.S. Navy’s plans to follow the LCS program with production of a new class of ship, the FFG(X). Several designs are under consideration, including a beefed-up version of Austal’s LCS. Austal officials have said that the efficiency of the company’s LCS production line in Mobile would be an asset to the frigate program.

San Diego is the homeport for Austal-built LCSs. They’re being organized into units dedicated to surface combat, minesweeping and antisubmarine operations. Concerns linger that the mission modules needed to make them fully capable of carrying out those roles have been subject to delays and reduced funding.

 

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