09/06/2021 - 14:00

Austal wins $US44m contract

09/06/2021 - 14:00

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Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal will develop autonomous fast transport functions through a second contract win this week with the US Navy.

Austal wins $US44m contract
Austal is building15 Spearhead-class EPF vessels for the US Navy. Photo: Austal

Henderson-based shipbuilder Austal will develop autonomous fast transport functions through a second contract win this week with the US Navy.

Under the contract, worth $US44 million ($A57 million), Austal USA will develop autonomous capability on a 13th expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessel, which will become the USNS Apalachicola.

It is one of 15 Spearhead-class EPF vessels being built by Austal, under a separate agreement signed in 2012.

EPF 13 and the future USNS Cody (EPF 14) are under construction at Austal’s shipyard in Alabama.

Austal said its Spearhead-class EPFs supported a wide range of missions, from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

The vessels include a 103-metre high-speed aluminium catamaran, as well as cargo and helicopter decks and seating for more than 300 troops.

Today, Austal chief executive Paddy Gregg said autonomous vessel capability was an area of strategic importance to the US Navy.

He said funding for an autonomous EPF conversion contract had been included in the US government’s 2021 budget.

Earlier this week, Austal was contracted to design the new Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ship for the US Navy under a $US3.6 million agreement.

The company was also contracted to deliver 19 Independence-class littoral combat ships to the navy under an agreement signed in 2010.

Thirteen of those vessels have been delivered so far, Austal said.

Its shares closed up 0.4 per cent on Wednesday to trade at $2.32.

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