The US Navy has awarded a contract to Fincantieri Marine Systems North America (FMSNA) to maintain its Avenger-class minesweepers fleet.

Total value of the programme is approximately $78m. FMSNA is a US subsidiary of Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG).

Homeported in Japan and Bahrain, the US Navy operates eight Avenger-class mine countermeasures (MCM) ships.

The ships include USS Sentry (MCM 3), USS Devastator (MCM 6), USS Patriot (MCM 7), USS Pioneer (MCM 9), USS Warrior (MCM 10), USS Gladiator (MCM 11), USS Dextrous (MCM 13) and USS Chief (MCM 14).

The Avenger-class ships are mine hunter-killers designed to detect, classify, and destroy bottom mines. They are also capable of using conventional minesweeping methods.

Designed to clear mines from waterways, MCM ships use a mine detonating device that can be controlled by a remote for releasing and detonating actions.

In a statement, the company said: “Thanks to the after-sales services tool, Fincantieri will further retain a top-tier customer such as the US Navy, allowing it to keep its ships running at a high level of performance.”

Built by Marinette Marines, the Avenger-class MCM ships were made in Marinette, Wisconsin and Sturgeon Bay.

All the vessels operate on diesel engines produced by Fincantieri’s Italy-based subsidiary, Isotta Fraschini Motori.

In May last year, FMG received a contract to build the US Navy’s second Constellation-class frigate USS Congress (FFG 63).