The US Navy has awarded a fixed-price incentive contract to Lockheed and Austal for a total of 20 littoral combat ships (LCS) between now and 2015.

Lockheed has been awarded an contract for $436.8m and Austal $432m for the design and construction of ten littoral combat ships each.

The two contracts will also include providing line items for nine additional ships, which are subject to Congressional appropriation of each year’s LCS requirements.

The US Navy’s 55-ship LCS programme intends to establish and maintain its dominance in the littorals and sea lanes of communication choke points around the world.

The LCS programme aims to fill the critical, urgent operational warfighting requirements gaps that currently exist in the navy.