The US Navy has awarded a contract option to Austal USA for the construction of two additional Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue ships (T-ATS).

The estimated value of this fixed-price incentive contract is approximately $156.17m.

The company will begin construction of the T-ATS 13 in the second half (H2) of the calendar year (CY) 2023 and the T-ATS 14 in H1 of CY2024.

The company will use its experience in ship manufacturing processes and techniques, including modular construction, lean manufacturing principles, and moving assembly lines.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said: “It’s a great sign of confidence by the navy, in the Austal USA team’s ability to deliver both steel and aluminium ships simultaneously, that they have awarded a contract for another two vessels.

“Congratulations to the Austal USA team on yet another multiple steel vessel contract, which will go even further to demonstrate the company’s diverse capabilities, in aluminium and steel.”

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Construction of the T-ATS vessels will take place at Austal’s steel production facility.

Delivery of T-ATS 13 is scheduled to take place in H2 of CY2025, while the second vessel will be handed over by H1 CY2026.

The Navajo-class T-ATS has a multi-mission common hull platform, capable of towing heavy vessels. It has been designed to support the US Navy’s fleet operations.

This ocean-going tug, salvage and rescue vessel can also support a wide range of maritime operations, including humanitarian assistance, search and rescue, oil spill response and surveillance.

Last October, Austal secured a contract to design and construct the US Navy’s two Navajo-class ships T-ATS 11 and 12.

The company has recently started construction on the T-ATS 11.