Austal subsidiary wins $143.4m landing craft utility boat contract for US navy

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By Imelda Cotton - 
Austal ASX ASB Landing Craft Utility LCU USA

Australian shipbuilder Austal (ASX: ASB) has announced its subsidiary Austal USA has been awarded a $143.4 million contract for the construction of three landing craft utility (LCU) 1700-class boats for the US navy.

The fixed-price incentive and firm-fixed-price contract follows a previous contract for the detailed design of the same vessels and includes options for manufacture of an additional nine boats and supports.

LCUs are carried aboard amphibious assault ships and used across a range of military operations to deliver vehicles, personnel and cargo from sea-to-shore and shore-to-shore.

The 1700-class has a roll-on/roll-off monohull configuration with hydraulically-controlled bow and stern ramps which allow multiple vessels to connect and form a causeway for fast and secure loading and unloading.

The craft is designed to operate from the well decks of assault ships, carrying loads up to 3.5 metres high above the vessel’s vehicle deck.

With a crew of 13, each vessel can conduct independent open ocean transits or operations at sea with a range of 1200 nautical miles and a top speed of 11 knots.

Critical capability partner

Austal chief executive officer Paddy Gregg said the new contract reinforces Austal USA’s position as a critical capability partner to the US navy and further diversifies the company’s steel shipbuilding portfolio.

The subsidiary is currently in production on two towing, salvage and rescue ships (T-ATS) which are ocean-going tug, salvage and rescue vessels designed to support the navy’s fleet, with a multi-mission common hull platform capable of towing heavy ships.

It is also constructing a new 8500 square metre auxiliary floating dry dock medium (AFDM) on a state-of-the-art steel line.

With a lifting capacity of over 18,000 tonnes and an overall length of 211 metres, the dock will service large vessels such as littoral combat ships, guided missile destroyers and missile cruisers and landing ship docks.

Austal also holds multiple contracts for the navy’s TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance ship, and the US Coast Guard’s heritage-class offshore patrol cutter (OPC) programs.

Largest defence exporter

Perth-based Austal is Australia’s largest defence exporter and the first shipbuilder to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.

The company has state-of-the-art shipyards in Australia, the US, Philippines and Vietnam with service centres worldwide.

In August, Austal delivered its 16th Guardian-class patrol boat (GCPB) to the Australian defence department and in June, it delivered the fifth of eight evolved cape-class patrol boats (ECCPBs) to the Royal Australian Navy.

Austal is the only foreign-owned prime contractor designing, constructing and sustaining ships for the US navy.