Austal wins $143M contract to build LCU class craft for US Navy

Image credit: Austal

Shipbuilding company Austal USA has secured a $143.4 million US Navy contract to construct three Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1700 class craft. 

The latest contract, which follows a previous contract for the detail design of the vessels, includes options to manufacture an additional nine vessels and associated support arrangement, Austal Limited said in an ASX announcement

The steel hull LCU 1700-class features a heavy-lift capability with a 170-ton payload capacity. The vessels will be deployed with the Navy’s amphibious assault ships to support a range of military operations including the delivery of tracked and/or wheeled vehicles, troops and cargo from ship-to-shore, short-to-shore, and back-to-ship. 

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

Each vessel, with a crew capacity of 13, is capable of conducting independent open ocean transits or operations at sea with a range of 1,200 nautical miles and a top speed of 11 knots. 

Paddy Gregg, CEO of Austal, said the new contract cements Austal USA’s position as a critical capability partner to the USD Navy and further diversifies the company’s steel shipbuilding portfolio. 

“Austal USA continues to diversify its product portfolio, with production continuing on two Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) and the 8,500sq metre Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock Medium (AFDM) on the company’s state-of-the-art steel line. Austal USA also holds multiple ship contracts for the Navy’s TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance ship, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) programs,” Gregg said. 

Austal is Australia’s largest defence exporter with shipyards in Australia, the US, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The company delivers monohull, catamaran, and trimaran commercial vessel platforms and has contracted more than 350 vessels for over 122 commercial and defence operations in 59 countries. 

Austal is also the only foreign-owned prime contractor designing and constructing ships for the US Navy.