Louisiana-based Swiftships has signed a contract with the US Naval Sea Systems Command to design and build the first Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) 1700 surface connector.

Under the contract, the company will provide the LCU 1700 detail design and construction of one craft, including data licence rights.

With a displacement capacity of 428 long tonnes full load, the 139ft-long LCU 1700 will be equipped with commercial navigation radar, military communications suite, and an amphibious assault direction system.

The $18.05m fixed-price incentive contract was competitively procured through the Federal Business Opportunities website, which received a total of five offers.

“Provided all options are exercised, the total value of the contract will amount to $429.42m.”

The contract comes with options for the construction of up to 31 vessels. If the options are all exercised, LCU deliveries will continue until 2027.

In addition, the contract includes options for product support, technical manuals, and data packages, as well as engineering and industrial services.

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Provided all options are exercised, the total value of the contract will amount to $429.42m.

Naval Sea Systems Command spokeswoman Colleen O’Rourke was quoted by USNI News as saying: “A number of factors protracted the source selection beyond the originally intended schedule, including the need for discussions with the offerors, which resulted in contract award in FY18.”

Work will be performed nearly 31 months after the award of the contract. Expected to be completed by July 2020, the company will carry out the base work throughout the US in Morgan City, Louisiana; Houston, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.