• The US Navy’s Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) to be constructed by Austal USA. (Supplied)
    The US Navy’s Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) to be constructed by Austal USA. (Supplied)

Austal USA has been awarded its first steel vessel construction contract by the US Navy, a US$145 million (~A$198.5 million) build of two Towing, Salvage, and Rescue ships (T-ATS 11 and 12).

The contract modification establishes options for up to three additional T-ATS ships, which, if exercised, will bring the total cumulative value of the contract to US$385 million (~A$528.6 million).

Austal was initially awarded a US$3.6 million contract by the US Navy for the functional design of the Navajo-class T-ATS vessels. Overnight it was awarded the US$145 million (~ A$198.5 million) fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract modification, to include the detailed design and construction of two T-ATS 11 and 12, as well as the option for the additional ships.

The T-ATS contract is the first steel ship construction program awarded by the US Navy to Austal USA and will be the first program to be delivered in the new steel shipbuilding facilities nearing completion at the shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the contract was an exciting milestone in the history of the company and a great demonstration of the company’s new steel shipbuilding capabilities in the US, following on from the successful addition of steel shipbuilding in Australia.

“This is great news for Austal USA as they enter a new era of steel shipbuilding in the United States, supporting the Navy’s requirements for steel ships,” Gregg said.

The Navajo-class T-ATS has ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities, with a multi- mission common hull platform, capable of towing heavy ships. These ships will be able to support USN fleet operations and a variety of missions, including oil spill response, humanitarian assistance, and wide area search and surveillance.

Austal USA will use the company’s new enclosed steel production facility which is set to open in April 2022. 

The shipyard previously announced it had submitted a bid to build the US Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter and continues to execute a Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) concept studies and preliminary design contract for the US Navy and Marine Corps. 

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