Austal USA has received a contract from the US Department of Defence to build two additional Independence-class littoral combat ships (LCS) for America’s Navy fleet.
The new contract comes after the company was awarded a contract in September this year to build two LCS 32 and LCS 34.
Although the contract’s specific value has not been disclosed, the order is said to be under the congressional cost cap of $584m for each ship.
Austal CEO David Singleton said: “The award of LCS 36 and 38 will mean that Austal has a forward order book of a further ten ships to deliver in a continuous production programme that now extends out to 2025.
“Growth in the order book will also continue to drive ship support and sustainment revenues over the coming years adding further reliability to Austal’s earnings. This is an increasingly important part of the revenue base of the company and is likely to continue to grow significantly, well into the future, as ships are delivered and deployed around the world.”
The two new ships are set to become Austal’s 18th and 19th ships in the Independence-class.
The company has so far delivered nine ships. An additional ten vessels are either being built or awaiting construction.
LCS can be used to carry out deterrence tasks, maritime security and defeat anti-access threats. It comes in two variants, the Independence and Freedom classes built by Austal and Lockheed Martin respectively.
The Independence variant assists the US Navy in mine clearance, anti-submarine operations and surface warfare. It can also be deployed to support missions such as special operations and maritime interdiction.
With a trimaran hull, the Independence LCS spans a length of 127.1m and can achieve speeds of around 40k.