The U.S. Navy has awarded contracts Lockheed Martin Corp and Australia's Austal Ltd worth nearly $1.4 billion to buy four more Littoral Combat Ships, the U.S. Defense Department said on Monday.
Lockheed won a contract valued at $699 million to build two more of its steel monohull-design ships, while Austal won a contract worth $684 million to build two more of its aluminum trimaran design, the Pentagon said. contracts.
Lockheed and Austal each build a different model of the LCS-class ships, which are designed to carry interchangeable equipment packages for mine-hunting, surface warfare or anti-submarine missions.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced last month that he wants to stop building the current configuration of ships after 32 ships, instead of building all 52 that were planned, and focus instead on ships with more firepower and protection.
The Navy is in the middle of executing separate 10-ship block buys with both Lockheed and Austal, which will bring the total number of LCS ships to 24.
Lockheed and Austal are waiting for details on how the Navy plans to procure the next eight ships that bring the total to 32 before shifting gear toward a more survivable ship.
Joe North, vice president of littoral ship systems at Lockheed, said that his company would be able to offer the best pricing to the Navy if it ordered the next eight ships as part of a block buy, rather than ordering them one year at a time.
North said he remained convinced that the LCS ships were the most cost effective ships in the Navy, and said Lockheed was standing by to learn about what additional capabilities the Navy wanted to add to the class in future years.
The Pentagon said work on the next two Lockheed LCS ships would be completed by August 2018. The next two Austal ships would be completed by June 2018, it said.
The Pentagon has awarded multiple contracts worth more than $1.1 billion to build two littoral combat ships to shipbuilders – Austal USA and Lockheed Martin
Austal Australia has engaged in discussion with local suppliers for Austal and German ship-design firm Fassmer's joint bid for the Australian Navy's $3 billion Offshore Patrol Vessel program. The Australian firm engaged in discussion in a forum at Bendigo, Victoria, in Australia, the company announced Wednesday
Austal USA has won a $248.9 million contract from the US Navy to design and construct two Expeditionary Fast Transport(EPF) vessels
The US Navy has selected Austal to construct two more Littoral Combat Ships, LCS 22 and LCS 24. The ships will be the ninth and tenth Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships built by Austal as prime contractor under its existing 10-vessel contract with the US Navy, the company announced in its press release last week
The US Navy accepted delivery of Joint High Speed Vessel, the future USNS Fall River from the Austal USA shipbuilder. The delivery marks a major milestone, the official transfer of the vessel from the shipbuilder to the Navy
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