US Navy contracts Austal for construction of 28th littoral combat ship

The U.S. Navy has awarded Australian shipbuilder Austal a $584 million contract to build an Independence-variant littoral combat ship.

The 127 meter LCS28 will be the 14th LCS constructed at Austal’s US shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

“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 said.

“Austal’s work on the LCS program at our advanced Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) has seen efficiency gains of 20 per cent with an ambitious target of 35 per cent set for the end of the build cycle.

“Should we win the $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.

The US Navy is expected to order up to two more LCS vessels in the current US financial year.

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.