Demonstrating its growing presence in the defence and vessel support markets, Austal’s US operation has been awarded a subcontract by BAE Systems to provide structural maintenance services for “Sea Fighter” (FSF-1), a US Navy Research Vessel which is used for advanced technology demonstrations.
The vessel is a 79.9 metre high-speed aluminium catamaran, designed to operate at speeds in excess of 50 knots. It is operated by Great Eastern Group for the Office of Naval Research. Austal’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, said the contract was in line with key company strategies to expand its defence and vessel support businesses. “This contract is further recognition from the defence community that our core skills add value in the in-service support phase. It shows we can successfully grow our international support business, and leverage our defence contracting credentials beyond new ship construction, in line with our strategy,” he said.
Austal currently provides in-service support to defence vessels in Australia, Oman, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States. “We are very pleased to be teaming with the professionals from Austal. The ability to harness the strengths of both companies in a cooperative effort will be fundamental to securing future opportunities,” said Vic Rhoades, director and general manager of BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards Alabama. Joe Rella, President and Chief Operating Officer of Austal USA said, “We are excited to work with our neighbours at BAE Systems and bring more business to Mobile, Alabama.” Austal’s contract value is approximately US$1.5 million dollars, and work is expected to extend into the first quarter of 2012.
Earlier this week Austal’s US operation held a keel-laying ceremony for the second of seven 103 metre Joint High Speed Vessels it is contracted to design and build for the US Navy. It is also preparing to launch its second Independence-variant 127 metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), also for the US Navy.