Navy awards Austal USA $144.6 million two-ship T-ATS contract

Written by Nick Blenkey
Navajo-class (T-ATS) Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship. (Image: US Navy)

Navajo-class (T-ATS) Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship. (Image: US Navy)

Jump starting its plans to get into steel vessel construction, Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., has been awarded a $144,623,645 fixed-price incentive (firm target) modification to previously awarded contract N00024-21-C-2209 for the detail design and construction of two towing, salvage, and rescue ships (T-ATS 11 and 12).

The contract modification establishes options for up to three additional ships, which, if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value of the contract to $385,084,067.

Austal USA says it will utilize its proven ship manufacturing processes and innovative methods that incorporate lean manufacturing principles, modular construction, and moving assembly lines, all housed under the company’s new state-of-the-art enclosed steel production facility set to open in April.

“The Austal USA team is excited to get to work on this program and leverage our new steel manufacturing line to support the U.S. Navy’s and U.S. Coast Guard’s requirements for steel ships,” Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh said. “Our consistent on-budget and on-schedule delivery of quality ships continues to lead the industry. Our highly skilled workforce prides itself on maintaining the excellence our customers have come to know and expect from Austal.”

T-ATS will provide ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities to support U.S. fleet operations and will be a multi mission common hull platform capable of towing heavy ships. These ships will be able to support current missions, including oil spill response, humanitarian assistance, and wide area search and surveillance. The platform also enables future capability initiatives like modular payloads with hotel services and appropriate interfaces.

Austal USA broke ground on its $100M steel manufacturing facility in March 2020. The line will be ready to cut steel in April.

The T-ATS award is one of several steel shipbuilding programs the company is pursuing as it diversifies its capabilities. Austal USA previously announced it submitted a bid to build the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter and continues to execute a Light Amphibious Warship concept studies and preliminary design contract for the Navy and Marine Corps.

Austal USA says its new steel line and facility expansion also positions it well to be the follow-on frigate yard for the U.S. Navy.

Paddy Gregg, CEO of Austal USA’s parent, Austal Limited (ASX: ASB) Austal Limited called the contract a milestone in the history of the company and a great demonstration of the company’s new steel shipbuilding capabilities in the United States, following on from the successful addition of steel shipbuilding to its capabilities in Australia. “This is great news for Austal USA as they enter a new era of steel shipbuilding in the United States, supporting the Navy’s requirements for steel ships,” he said.

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