Discuss Future of Supporting the Program before Congress.
Austal brought together representatives of over 50 suppliers from 25 states to build support for the future of the U.S. Navy’s LCS program. The representatives of the Independence-variant LCS industrial base gathered on May 16 and 17 for a conference and congressional outreach.
Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Joe Rella, was joined by Rear Admiral James A. Murdoch, Program Executive Officer, Littoral Combat Ships, and Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL) in welcoming the attendees and briefing them on the U.S. Navy’s plans for the LCS program, its acquisition plan and providing an overview on program challenges . They discussed the importance of the LCS program to our Navy and nation.
In his comments to the suppliers who were invited, Mr. Rella stated “Besides the needs expressed by the Navy for the LCS Program to continue to deliver ships in support of their vital multi-mission capabilities, we need to ensure that Representatives from around the country realize that folks are employed beyond the borders of the shipbuilder’s home state. Thousands of people are employed directly as first tier suppliers in over 25 states and when considering second tier suppliers the reach extends to the entire nation.”
On the second day of the event, Austal arranged for the suppliers to visit Capitol Hill for meetings with Members of Congress, key staffers, and defense legislative assistants in each of the suppliers’ districts. The objective of these meetings was to make congress aware of the importance of the LCS to national security and help them to understand the economic impact the program brings to each supplier’s district and state, specifically the State of Alabama, and the City of Mobile.
Austal USA’s Vice President of Sales, Marketing and External Affairs, Craig Hooper, said, “we are grateful that our suppliers took a day and helped reach over 100 members of Congress, explaining the importance of the LCS Program to national security as well as economic contributions of the industrial base as a whole.”
Austal USA is a full-service shipyard offering design, construction and high-speed vessel service and repair. As Austal USA continues to expand its service and repair capabilities, the company is well positioned for new business with engineering, test and trials capabilities, and a new waterfront facility all co-located on the Mobile Bay waterfront.
Austal is currently under contract with the U.S. Navy to build nine 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract and five 127-meter Independence-variant LCS class ships, four of which are a part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. As the ship systems integrator, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems including the combat system, networks, and seaframe control. General Dynamics’ proven open architecture approach allows for affordable and efficient capability growth as technologies develop.
These two contracts will require Austal to increase its Mobile, Alabama workforce to approximately 4,000 employees in order to fulfil the contract requirements. “With almost ten percent of these workers expected to reside in the neighbouring states of Florida and Mississippi,” said Rella, “we are proud that Austal is an engine of regional growth for the Gulf States and the entire Nation.”