04/05/2009 - 11:21

Austal secures another US Navy contract

04/05/2009 - 11:21

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Ship builder Austal says it is in a good position to secure further Littoral Combat Ship contracts after it secured its second from the US Navy today.

Austal secures another US Navy contract

Ship builder Austal says it is in a good position to secure further Littoral Combat Ship contracts after it secured its second from the US Navy today.

The contract award comes as the Henderson-based company is in advanced stages in the construction of the first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), named Independence, at its US shipyard in Alabama.

Austal said the second LCS, to be named Coronado, will be similar to that of the 127-metre long Independence.

The cost for the second LCS has not been made public by the US Navy, however Austal pointed that the latest contract represents the second half of the two-vessel $US1 billion budget for the fiscal 2009 LCS program.

Austal is in a joint venture with General Dynamics for the contract.

Austal plans to increase its US workforce to more than 1,300 on the back of the LCS win and the recent contract award for the construction of the US Navy's Joint Venture High Speed Vessel.

"[Today's] contract award demonstrates a strong vote of confidence for the Austal-designed high speed aluminium trimaran sea frame, which has already proven itself in the commercial market," Austal managing director Bob Browning said.

"With the US Navy's ongoing commitment to a 55-vessel LCS program, as part of a 313 ship fleet, we are confident that our superior design and purpose-built US construction facilities put us in a good position to meet this important requirement."

Sea trials for Independence are scheduled to start mid this year with delivery expected later this year.

Austal has previously said that it expected to secure its second LCS contract this quarter.

Shares in Austal were up eight cents to $2.66 at 12:56 AEST after reaching an intraday high of $2.77.

 

 

The announcement is below:

 

The US Navy has announced a fixed price incentive contract for the construction of a second Austal designed and built Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

Awarded to Prime contractor Bath Iron Works, a General Dynamics company, the second Austal-built LCS will be similar to the 127 metre "Independence" (LCS 2), which is currently at an advanced stage of construction at Austal's US shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Because the contract amount is currently considered source selection information and is tied to vessel awards for US Fiscal Year 2010 ending September 2010, it has not been made public by the US Navy at this stage. This award represents the second half of the two-vessel US$1.02 billion budget appropriation for the LCS program for US Fiscal Year 2009, ending September 2009.

Approximately 50 per cent of the total award amount is for work to be performed at Austal USA.

The announcement follows Austal's recent selection as Prime contractor for the US Navy's Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program, potentially valued at more than US$1.6 billion.

The General Dynamics LCS Team platform utilises Austal's proven, high-speed trimaran hull-form to provide enhanced seakeeping, low resistance, superior aviation facilities, and large payload volume capacity. The next-generation warships will carry out a range of operations including mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and the prosecution of surface attack craft in the near-shore (littoral) environment.

Austal Managing Director Bob Browning commented; "This contract award demonstrates a strong vote of confidence for the Austal-designed high speed aluminium trimaran seaframe, which has already proven itself in the commercial market."

"With the US Navy's ongoing commitment to a 55-vessel LCS program, as part of its 313 ship fleet, we are confident that our superior design and purpose-built US construction facilities put us in a good position to meet this important requirement."

Mr Browning said momentum generated by the latest LCS order and the recent JHSV award will accelerate the growth of the company's US operations, which now plans to increase its workforce to more than 1300 when the LCS gets into full production next year.

Construction of Austal's second LCS will commence immediately at its shipyard in Mobile, where work is also well underway on the first phase of a new state-of-the-art Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF). The facility will allow quicker and more cost-effective construction of the ship components, or modules, which will then be transported to the existing Assembly Bays along the waterfront for erection and launch. Once completed, the 70,000m2 MMF (over 17 acres under roof), will allow the delivery of multiple JHSV or LCS platforms per year.

Sea trials of Austal's first LCS, the 127 metre "Independence" (LCS 2), are scheduled for mid-2009, with delivery expected later in the year. The vessel was officially christened in front of more than 1,000 dignitaries during a ceremony held at Austal in October 2008.

The US Navy has previously announced that this newly-awarded LCS will be named "Coronado" (LCS 4).

Last month Austal announced the award of two contracts for the design and construction of large commercial vehicle-passenger ferries, to be built at Austal's Western Australian facilities.

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