LCS delivery schedule remains on track
Last Friday, the US Navy (USN) awarded Austal USA a construction contract of U$584 million (AU$779 million) per ship to build an additional INDEPENDENCE-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the 127m, frigate sized LCS28 being the 14th LCS.
Austal has delivered two LCS in 2016 and is set to deliver two more in 2017, all under the congressional cost cap. This, along with the successful Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) programme, positions Austal well to rapidly and efficiently support the USN’s desired fleet of 355 ships, according to the company.
Austal USA will construct LCS 28 at its ship manufacturing facility in Mobile, AL/USA,with construction of LCS 28 is scheduled to begin in 2018.
“We’re very proud to be awarded this contract in such a highly competitive environment,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle, said. “This demonstrates the USN’s confidence in Austal being a key component in building their 355-ship fleet, which is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our incredible employees.”
With five LCS and eight EPFs already delivered to the USN, Perciavalle states: “Whether we’re supporting our delivered ships in San Diego or Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam, we continue hearing positive feedback from the fleet commanders on the value and effectiveness of our LCS and EPF. We remain dedicated to building these ships safely, timely and with the quality and craftsmanship our customers have come to know and expect from Austal.”
The US Navy is expected to order up to two more LCS in the current US financial year. Austal’s orders to date for the INDEPENDENCE-class LCS have totalled approximately AU$8 billion which equates to approximately 75% of the likely value of the entire Australian government frigate construction programme. While the vessel will be constructed in Alabama, certain subsystems will be made at Austal’s Henderson facility in Western Australia, as part of a continuation of its successful subcontract collaboration with the US.
The company’s LCS delivery schedule remains on track and under the US Governments congressional cost cap, having delivered two ships in 2016 and set to deliver two more in 2017. The fifth Austal-built LCS entered the fleet last weekend with the commissioning of the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) while an additional seven LCS vessels are under various phases of construction.
“While I am obviously happy for Austal I am also delighted in the vote of confidence this delivers for Australian shipbuilding and design,” Austal CEO David Singleton concluded. “We won this award following a direct competition with the FREEDOM-class LCS, which says much for our cost efficiency on this programme. Austal’s work on the LCS programme at our advanced Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) has seen efficiency gains of 20% with an ambitious target of 35% set for the end of the build cycle. Should we win the AU$3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel contract for the Royal Australian Navy, we intend to introduce many of the advanced manufacturing techniques and efficiency gains perfected in the US into our local operations. I look forward to working with the Australian Government in the future to help them realise their goal of truly sovereign and export capable naval shipbuilding industry.”