Austal USA books $91.5 million Navy LCU contract

Written by Nick Blenkey
LCU rendering

LCU 1700-class vessels to be built by Austal USA can each carry about the same payload capacity as seven C-17 aircraft. [Image: Austal USA]

Naval Sea Systems Command has awarded Mobile, Ala. based Austal USA a $91,535,55 fixed-price incentive and firm-fixed-price type contract for the construction of three Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1700 class craft. The contract follows a previous contract for the detail design of the vessels and includes options for manufacture of an additional nine vessels and associated support arrangements.

The steel hulled LCU 1700-class vessels have heavy-lift capability with a 170 ton payload capacity, and 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, shore to shore and back to ship.

The vessels have 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. The craft are designed to be transported within, and load/unload from the well decks of amphibious assault ships, carrying loads up to 3.5 meters 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 1,200 nautical miles (at 8 knots) and a top speed of 11 knots.

“Austal USA is honored to be able to build this important connector for the U.S. Navy,” said Dave Growden, the shipbuilders vice president of new construction projects. “We recognize the critical role this platform plays in supporting expeditionary operations for the Navy and Marine Corps and are looking forward to continuing to deliver ships and boats to our customers on time and on budget.”

Paddy Gregg, CEO of Austal USA’s parent Austal Limited (ASX: ASB), said the new contract reinforces Austal USA’s position as a critical capability partner to the United States Navy and further diversified 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 8,500 square meter Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock Medium (AFDM) on the company’s state-of-the-art steel line,” said Gregg. “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.”

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