THE United States Navy has upgraded a detailed design contract with Austal USA to a full-scale construction agreement worth an initial US$516 million ($779 million).

The original fixed-price incentive (firm target) and firm-fixed-price contract was worth US$113.9 million and was for work on the lead ship of the USN’s T-AGOS (ocean surveillance) program, T-AGOS 25. It was announced on 19 May 2023.

The contract modification, advised by the USN and to the ASX on Friday [31 May] exercises an option for ordering long lead time materials to continue/complete the design and construction of the lead ship. It also includes options for detail design and construction of up to seven T-AGOS 25 class. If all options are exercised the cumulative value of the contract is US$3,195,396,097.

The contract modification provides for further payment as part of the overall contract.

The Auxiliary General Ocean Surveillance Ships (T-AGOS) are operated by United States Military Sealift Command and support the antisubmarine warfare (ASW) mission of the commanders of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets by providing a platform capable of passive and active anti-submarine acoustic surveillance.

The 110-metre, steel ‘small waterplane area twin hull’ (SWATH) vessels support the Navy’s Integrated Undersea Surveillance System (IUSS) by gathering underwater acoustical data usingSurveillance Towed-Array Sensor System (SURTASS) equipment.

At the time of the original contract award Austal Limited CEO Paddy Gregg said the T-AGOS contract added to Austal USA’s growing portfolio of steel shipbuilding programs and was a further demonstration of the US Government’s trust in Austal USA’s capabilities.

“The T-AGOS contract is a clear acknowledgment of Austal’s capabilities in steel naval shipbuilding, that includes the Navy’s Towing, Salvage and Rescue (T-ATS) ships, an Auxiliary Floating Drydock Medium (AFDM), and the US Coast Guards’ Offshore Patrol Cutters,” MrGregg said.

As prime contractor for the contract, Austal USA is teaming with L3Harris Technologies, Noise Control Engineering, TAI Engineering, and Thoma-Sea Marine Constructors to deliver the TAGOS-25 program, from the company’s new steel shipbuilding facility in Mobile, Alabama.