Australian shipbuilding company Austal has signed an Agreement for Boat Repair (ABR) with the US Navy to bid for and provide various support services.

With the new agreement in place, the company’s Australian shipyards and service centres will now bid for and provide services, including ship repairs, maintenance and sustainment activity for the US Navy and Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships.

The Australian operations may now bid to provide emergent repair services to deployed naval ships, including the Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) designed and constructed by Austal.

Austal will also be able to bid for the maintenance and repair of MSC ships deployed to the region. This will include the Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessels, which are also constructed by the company.

Austal chief executive David Singleton said: “With this approval, Austal can provide a range of vessel repairs, maintenance and in-service support to US Navy and MSC ships operating throughout South East Asia.

“As the designer and builder, no-one knows the Independence-class LCS or Spearhead-class EPF better than us, and we’re naturally very pleased and proud to now have the opportunity to provide local support for these vessels to the US Navy as opportunities arise.”

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The approval allows Austal to bid for work on naval vessels that may visit Australia, including Cairns in Queensland, Darwin in the Northern Territory, or Fremantle (Henderson) in Western Australia.

Since 2010, the company has delivered ten Independence-class LCS to the navy. It continues to construct six vessels at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Last December, Austal USA officially delivered the newest expeditionary fast transport (EPF) ship USNS Puerto Rico (T-EPF 11) to the US Navy.