Austal wins $104m contract for fifth US Navy ship

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Image credit: Austal, US Navy

Global shipbuilder Austal announced that Austal USA has been awarded an AUD 104 million contract from the United States Navy for the manufacture of an additional Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS 15).

The ASX-listed currently has a contract for five T-ATS, having previously secured awards for T-ATS 13 and 14 in July 2022 and T-ATS 11 and 12 in October 2021, as revealed in a media release. 

In particular, T-ATS is an ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue ship with a multi-mission common hull platform capable of towing heavy ships, developed to serve the United States Navy’s fleet operations. 

Austal said the ships are capable of carrying out a number of operations, including oil spill response, humanitarian relief, search and rescue, and surveillance.

According to Austal CEO Paddy Gregg, the contract award demonstrates Austal USA’s developing steel shipbuilding capacity, after the start of construction on T-ATS 11 and 12, and more recently the Auxiliary Floating Dock Medium, for the US Navy.

“Austal USA’s steel shipbuilding capabilities and capacity continues to impress, with three steel vessels now underway in Mobile, Alabama; in addition to the multiple aluminium vessels and component projects also under construction,” Gregg said.

He added, “In addition to the LCS, EPF and T-ATS programs, construction has just commenced on the steel Auxiliary Floating Dock Medium (AFDM), which will further demonstrate Austal USA’s capabilities and capacity to deliver large steel vessels for the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard.”

The Austal official also emphasised that the US team is also manufacturing submarine modules for Virginia-class submarines and aircraft elevators for Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers to make a significant contribution to the US’ defence industrial base.

T-ATS 13 and 14 are anticipated to begin construction in the second half of CY2023, with delivery in late 2027. 

T-ATS 15 is projected to begin construction in the first half of CY2024, with delivery in late 2027.

Austal USA said it will use its ship manufacturing processes as well as new approaches such as lean manufacturing, modular building, and moving assembly lines, all of which will be housed in the company’s state-of-the-art enclosed steel production facility in Mobile, Alabama.