Austal Limited announced that Austal USA has been awarded a US$44 million fixed-price, undefinitised contract modification for the design, procurement, production implementation and demonstration of autonomous capability on Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 13, USNS Apalachicola. Austal USA is constructing 15 Spearhead-class EPF vessels for the US Navy and has delivered twelve EPFs since December 2012. EPF 13 is currently under construction at Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard.
Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the highly-anticipated contract was another significant, strategic step towards greater autonomous vessel capability. “Austal noted in our half year results presentation that the funding for an autonomous EPF conversion contract had been appropriated in the USA Government 2021 Budget, so we are pleased that it has now been converted into a formal contract,” Gregg said. “Winning a $44 million contract is welcome from a revenue perspective, but strategically this contract award is even more significant for Austal. “Autonomous vessel capability has been identified as an area of strategic importance by the US Navy, so it is promising for Austal that the US Navy has awarded Austal USA a contract for the design, procurement, production implementation and demonstration of autonomous capability of one of our vessels, the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 13, the future USNS Apalachicola,” he added.
The Spearhead-class EPF is a 103-metre high-speed aluminium catamaran with a large, 1800 square metre cargo deck, medium-lift helicopter deck and seating for 300+ embarked troops; providing a fast, high-payload transport capability to combatant commanders around the world. The Austal-designed and built EPFs support a wide range of missions – from maritime security operations to humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Two EPF’s are currently under construction at Austal USA’s shipyard – the USNS Apalachicola (EPF 13) and the USNS Cody (EPF 14). In addition to the EPF program, Austal USA is contracted to deliver 19 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, of which 13 have been delivered since 2010. The 15th Independence-class LCS, the future USS Canberra was christened at Austal USA on 5 June 2021.
Contract awarded for salvage, rescue ship
Austal Limited also announced that its US unit has been awarded a US$3.6 million functional design contract to prepare for construction of the new Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) for the United States Navy. Austal USA will prepare a functional design for the T-ATS, an 80-metre steel monohull vessel with multi-mission capability to support a variety of towing, salvage, search and rescue, oil spill response, humanitarian assistance and surveillance activities. The T-ATS can also embark containerised systems including cyber, electronic warfare, and decoy and surveillance packages. As part of the design contract, Austal USA will define detailed requirements to construct, test, and deliver T-ATS ships in accordance with United States Government ship specifications. Austal USA is currently delivering the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) programs for the United States Navy. Thirteen LCS and twelve EPF vessels have been delivered from the Austal’s Mobile Alabama shipyard since 2009.