Austral navy ship finally exercises with RAN

It has been a long time coming but an Australian-designed aluminium trimaran warship built by Austal (ASX: ASB) has finally exercised with Royal Australian Navy ships.

The Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet announced that the USS Montgomery (LCS 8), an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) designed and constructed by Austal in Alabama, had successfully conducted operations with HMAS Stuart and HMAS Sirius in the South China Sea.

The ships conducted communication drills, division tactics, bilateral flight operations, and personnel exchanges, and the Montgomery was replenishment by the Australian ships, the first time an LCS has received fuel from an allied navy vessel.

The RAN has studiously avoided using Austal’s ground-breaking two and three hulled naval vessels which are being bought in large numbers by the US Navy, preferring more conventional steel ships.

The reason has never been made clear but conservatism, risk adverseness and even an aversion to buying an Australian design for a major warship may be the reasons for ignoring what the US so obviously values.

The Montgomery is capable of a range of naval roles and is 127 metres long, displaces 2,300 metric tonnes and is capable of speeds of 47 knots.

Austal CEO David Singleton said it was pleasing to see the Independence-class LCS engaging successfully with ships from the Royal Australian Navy, highlighting the interoperability of both the ship and the Navies.

Singleton said: “We expect to see many more of these Austal-designed and constructed ships in our region, with a total of 19 Independence-class LCS being delivered by Austal USA to the U.S. Navy.”

HMAS Stuart and HMAS Sirius are currently underway in the Indo-Pacific region.

Austal is building one class of ship for the RAN – a steel hulled patrol boat.

Picture: Austal/USS Montgomery

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