AUSTRALIAN shipbuilder Austal has been awarded a contract to build two littoral combat ships (LCS) for the US Navy, bringing the total LCS orders for the 2018 calendar year to four.

The US Navy has not announced the actual contract value for competition reasons, but the award is under the congressional cost cap of US$584m per ship

Austal CEO David Singleton said the order was a “tremendous” endorsement of Austal’s aluminium trimaran.

“We have been very successful winning two littoral combat ships per annum in competitions in each of the last three US government financial years,” he said.

“This has been achieved as a result of a highly focused and successful program of production efficiency at our shipyard in Alabama and is a credit to that team.”

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Mr Singleton continued saying the award of LCS 36 and 38 means that Austal has a forward orderbook of a further 10 ships to deliver in a continuous production program that now extends out to 2025.

“The strong orderbook creates continuity and certainty of workload for the Austal workforce in Alabama who have achieved so much; for our shareholders, the orderbook will drive continued growth in earnings over the next few years.”

Austal also announced the Commonwealth of Australia, throught the Defence Export Facility has made available a loan facility of up to $80m, to support the acquisition of two cape-class patrol boats.

The facility will be made available to the government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to assist in purchasing the vessels from Austal.

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