In a major coup Perth international shipbuilder Austal has been commissioned to design a new class of vessel for the United States Navy.
Under a US$3.6 million contract Austal is to prepare a functional design for the new Navajo class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS, pictured)) which will be constructed for the USN.
The Navajo is envisaged as an 80-metre steel monohull vessel with multi-mission capability to support a variety of towing, salvage, search and rescue, oil spill response, humanitarian assistance and surveillance activities.
The T-ATS can also embark containerised systems including cyber, electronic warfare and decoy and surveillance packages.
The vessels, should it ultimately be constructed by Austal marks a departure from the 25 large aluminium multi-hulled warships that the company has built for the USN at its yard in Mobile, Alabama.
In March Austal broke ground on a new steel shipbuilding facility at Mobile.
Funded through a loan from the US Department of Defence of US$50 million matched by company funds, the $131 million facility was to prepare Austal to compete for new US Navy orders.
Austal CEO Paddy Gregg said the T-ATS functional design contract was its first in the US for steel ships.
Austal builds multi-hulled aluminium passenger and vehicle ferries at its yard at Henderson in Perth as well as steel patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy and Border Force.
Gregg said: “Now we have received the first contract to design the steel-hulled Navajo class T-ATS ships for the USN.
“Austal USA is now well on the path to delivering steel ships for the USN and we couldn’t be prouder of the hardworking team in Mobile, Alabama, now the fifth largest shipyard in the United States.”
Austal will define detailed requirements to construct, test and deliver T-ATS ships following government specifications.
Austal has delivered 13 Independence class littoral combat ships (LCS) and twelve Spearhead class expeditionary fast transport ships (EPF) ships to the USN from the Mobile yard.
Picture: Austal/Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship
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