By CAROLINE BECK, Alabama Daily News
The U.S. Navy will contract Mobile-based Austal USA to build two additional Littoral Combat Ships in the fiscal 2019 budget cycle.
The contract hasn’t been finalized yet but notice from the Department of Defense says it will soon be completed.
“To be awarded two more LCS contracts before the end of the year is beyond exciting,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle.
“This contract directly reflects the confidence the U.S. Navy has in Austal USA and our supplier base of over 10,000 nationwide and our ability to build highly capable ships at al affordable cost.”
Austal USA awarded LCS 36 and 38! “To be awarded two more LCS contracts before the end of the year is beyond exciting,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. https://t.co/oDtdPJ5m7O pic.twitter.com/uLTOh6RZR1
— Austal USA (@Austal_USA) December 17, 2018
Austal has already delivered eight of these ships with six currently under construction and three awaiting construction. With the addition of these two new ships, that means Austal USA is positioned to build 19 Independence-class littoral combat ships. Austal also builds the Navy’s highly-successful Expeditionary Fast Transports (EPF) in Mobile.
The specific value of each contract is under the congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship. Perciavalle said the company prides itself on making on-time and on budget ships for the U.S. military.
“The skill, hard work and dedication of our employees is second to none and strengthens as we continue to play an important role in helping build the Navy’s 355-ship fleet,” Perciavalle said.
Senator Richard Shelby said on Twitter today how the announcement is a great advancement for the Navy as well as Alabamians in general.
The @USNavy has awarded @Austal_USA in #Mobile a contract to build two of the three additional Littoral Combat Ships appropriated for #FY2019. Another significant win for #Austal & further highlights our state's outstanding defense capabilities. #LCS
— Richard Shelby (@SenShelby) December 17, 2018
Sen. Doug Jones also expressed his excitement for the decision over Twitter and also shared his efforts back in June that called on the defense department to commission more LCSs.
2/2: In June, Senator Jones called for additional ships in this year’s NDAA bill & they were included in conference. Watch his speech here: https://t.co/d23b2FZKfp
— Doug Jones (@SenDougJones) December 15, 2018
Congressman Bradley Byrne, who represents Mobile and has long advocated for the LCS on the Armed Services Committee, called the two-ship contract a “huge development.”
“This marks the 4th straight year Austal has received 2 of the 3 Littoral Combat Ship contracts,” Byrne said. “This demonstrates that our Alabama shipyard is meeting the needs and demands of the Navy on time and on budget. My hats off to the entire team of close to 4,000 men and women at the Austal shipyard.”
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