Austal has received $13.97m worth of contract modifications from the US Department of Defence (DoD) to a previously existing $3.5bn contract for littoral combat ships (LCS's) for the US Navy.
Under the contract, Austal will render engineering and design services to the LCS with a view to curb the expenditure incurred during the acquisition and lifecycle maintenance for the Independence variant LCS.
The modifications to the previously existing contracts allow scope for Austal to conduct special studies, and to analyse and review efforts for the LCS programme.
Austal is under a contract to build ten LCS ships for the US Navy, and a separate $1.6bn block-buy contract by the US Navy to construct ten expeditionary fast transport vessels (EPF), which are currently are being constructed in Austal's Mobile, Alabama, ship manufacturing facility.
The LCS's constitute part of the list of US Navy surface ships, which are fast and highly manoeuvrable.
The vessels are suited to the requirement of shallow draft vessels to operate in the littoral (coastal waters), countering growing potential 'asymmetric' threats, such as coastal mines, submarines, and explosives and terrorists being carried on small, fast, armed boats.
The Independence-class of littoral combat ship features a stabilised trimaran hull, with an overall length of 127.8m, maximum beam of 28.4m and full load displacement of 2,637t.
The seaframe is based on Austal's design for the Benchijigua Express passenger / car ferry.
Image: An image of littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2). Photo: courtesy of US Navy photo by Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Nicholas Kontodiakos.