Lockheed and Austal USA have been issued $745m worth of contract modifications to their respective littoral combat ship (LCS) block buy contracts for the design and construction of up to ten LCS Flight 0+ ships.

The modification is to add funding for the construction of the seventh and eighth ships in the LCS class for 2011 fiscal year.

Lockheed has been awarded $376.6m, while Austal has received $368.5m and the ships will be built at Marinette Marine Corporation in Wisconsin and Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, US, respectively.

The two-block buy contracts will provide for a total of up to 20 LCSs from 2010 to 2015.

Currently, the USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) and USS Coronado (LCS 4) are under construction and are expected to be delivered in 2012.

The LCS will increase US Navy dominance in the littorals, and sea lines of communication and will fill critical, urgent warfighting requirements gaps.