The U.S. Navy announced a fixed price incentive contract for the construction of a fourth 127-meter trimaran Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS 8) valued at $368.6m. This is the second ship awarded under Austal’s recently announced U.S. Navy contract for construction of up to an additional 10 Littoral Combat Ships to be appropriated in the following five years, with a total value in excess of $3.5b. Once commissioned, these 10 ships will join the Austal-built USS Independence (LCS 2) which was commissioned in January 2010. Austal USA President and Chief Operating Officer, Joe Rella, commented “The award of this ship allows us to continue the build up of our workforce, and reinforces the Navy’s need for these vital ships.” This 10-ship contract will require Austal to more than double its U.S. workforce to approximately 3,800 employees in order to fulfill the contracts currently awarded.
Construction of LCS 8 will commence in January 2012 at Austal’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, where work is also underway on the following U.S. Navy and U.S. Army ships:
· Coronado (LCS 4), scheduled for launch in mid 2011;
· Spearhead (Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) 1), scheduled for launch in mid 2011 and delivery in December 2011; and
· Vigilant (JHSV 2), scheduled for launch in late 2011 and delivery in mid 2012.
Over the course of the next 12 months, Austal will commence the construction of LCS 6, the first vessel awarded under the LCS 10 ship block buy contract, and JHSVs 3, 4 and 5.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). General Dynamics is the ship systems integrator, responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s mission systems. Using its open computing infrastructure, known as OPEN CI, General Dynamics delivers innovative and affordable solutions in rapid, spiral development cycles.