The second contract this year to build an Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship in Mobile has been awarded to Business Council of Alabama member Austal USA, the company announced yesterday.
The 127-meter, frigate-size LCS 30 will be the 15th LCS built at Austal’s U.S. shipyard in Mobile, and represents a continuing vote of confidence in Australia’s design and ship-building capability for large naval vessels, the company said.
Western Australia-based Austal announced the contract for the LCS at Mobile. The contract amount is confidential “for competition reasons” but is under the U.S. congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship, Austal said.
Austal CEO David Singleton said the announcement is further proof that Australian industry can not only compete, but excel on the world stage. “Whilst this is a great achievement for Austal, I am also delighted in the vote of confidence this delivers in the Australian industry for shipbuilding and design,” Singleton said.
“Austal USA is a significant employer for the Alabama Gulf Coast region and significantly adds to the area’s value and prosperity through wages and supply purchases,” BCA President and CEO William J. Canary. “Not only that, Austal USA and its employees in Mobile are valuable contributors to our national defense just as World War II shipyard employees in Mobile were a few generations ago.”
Governor Kay Ivey released a statement and said that when Alabama’s businesses succeed, Alabamians succeed.
“Austal USA is a 21st-Century, technology-driven employer which provides good wages and good opportunities for its employees,” Governor Ivey said. “Austal is critical to our state’s high-tech military and aerospace manufacturing sector.
“By adding to its ship order, the U.S. Navy is signaling its confidence in Austal’s products and the employees who build it,” she said. “Alabama has a skilled workforce that is known for producing high-quality goods.”
Austal USA employs 4,000 people at its headquarters and shipbuilding facility in Mobile while its supplier network includes more than 2,200 businesses in 43 states, Austal USA said.
Singleton said he is “particularly impressed by the productivity gains and quality of build that our workforce in Mobile has achieved.”
“Austal’s work on the LCS program at our advanced Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) has seen efficiency gains of 20 percent so far with an ambitious target of 35 percent set for the end of the build cycle,” he said.