, a global shipbuilding company, announced that its subsidiary, Austal USA, has been awarded a significant contract worth US$91,535,551 (AU$143.4 million) for the construction of three Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1700 class craft for the United States Navy. This contract, which includes options for the manufacture of an additional nine vessels and associated support arrangements, reinforces Austal USA's crucial role as a critical capability partner to the U.S. Navy.
The LCU 1700-class vessels are steel-hulled and boast a remarkable heavy-lift capability with a 170-ton payload capacity. These vessels will play a pivotal role in supporting a variety of military operations, including the transportation of tracked and wheeled vehicles, troops, and cargo from ship to shore, shore to shore, and back to ship, in conjunction with the Navy's amphibious assault ships.
Austal Limited's Chief Executive Officer, Paddy Gregg, expressed his pride in contributing to this important shipbuilding program, stating, "The LCU 1700-class vessels are an essential capability of the U.S. Navy, and we're proud to be contributing to this important shipbuilding program with up to 12 vessels to be constructed. Austal USA continues to diversify its product portfolio, showcasing its expertise in steel shipbuilding."
The LCU 1700-class vessels are designed with a roll-on/roll-off monohull configuration, featuring hydraulically controlled bow and stern ramps that allow multiple vessels to connect and form a causeway for rapid and secure unloading and loading. These craft are specifically engineered to be transported within and load/unload from the well decks of amphibious assault ships, with the capability to carry loads up to 3.5 meters high above the vessel's vehicle deck. Each vessel is crewed by 13 individuals and can conduct independent open-ocean transits or operations at sea, boasting a range of 1,200 nautical miles at 8 knots and a top speed of 11 knots.
Austal USA's successful bid for this contract comes as the company continues to demonstrate its diverse product portfolio, with ongoing production of two Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) and the Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock Medium (AFDM) on its state-of-the-art steel line. Additionally, Austal USA holds multiple ship contracts, including those for the Navy's TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance ship and the U.S. Coast Guard's Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) programs.
This latest contract solidifies Austal USA's standing as a vital contributor to the U.S. Navy's maritime capabilities and underscores its commitment to delivering high-quality vessels that meet the rigorous demands of the modern military. The contract is expected to contribute significantly to the company's continued growth and success in the shipbuilding industry.