On May 15th, Austal USA announced that the United States Navy has received the future USS Augusta (LCS 34), the 17th Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS).

The Independence-variant LCS is a high-speed, shallow-draft surface combatant design, featuring an aluminium trimaran hull, crafted for littoral environments. The vessel’s speed and manoeuvrability equip it to carry out a range of missions, including surface warfare, mine warfare, and anti-submarine warfare.

During construction, Austal launched the Augusta for the first time, in May 2022, before Austal USA commissioned machinery and other systems to prepare for sea trials.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg highlighted the fast pace of construction for the Augusta, completed by Austal only 5 months after it was christened in December 2022. “The speed at which the Austal USA team are managing the completion and delivery of multiple, complex naval assets is truly impressive,” Mr Gregg said.

The USS Augusta is set to be stationed at Naval Base San Diego, where it will be situated near Austal USA’s waterfront repair and maintenance facility that houses a floating dry dock that can accommodate LCS, frigates, and other surface combatants and auxiliary ships of similar size.

Austal USA’s Independence-variant LCS programme is on the verge of completion, with just two ships, the future USS Kingsville (LCS 36) and USS Pierre (LCS 38), remaining under construction out of a total of 19 to be delivered.

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Austal USA has been making significant strides in the delivery of the Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) programme for the United States Navy. To date, the company has successfully delivered 13 out of the 16 vessels that were ordered. The US Navy’s EPF programme recently achieved a significant milestone with the USNS Apalachicola becoming the first EPF vessel to possess autonomous capability for unmanned missions. This vessel, which is also the largest surface vessel in the US Navy fleet, has now joined the ranks of cutting-edge technology in the field of unmanned naval operations.

In addition to the LCS and EPF programmes, Austal USA is set to deliver four towing, salvage and rescue steel hull ships for the US Navy. The company has also secured a US$3.3 billion contract for up to 11 offshore patrol cutters for the US Coast Guard.