The first aluminum has been cut for Austal’s third Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Jackson (LCS 6). After completing a successful Production Readiness Review (PRR) last week, the US Navy issued instructions to move ahead with production. US Navy Secretary Ray Mabus personally visited Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard recently to announce the name of the first two ships of Austal’s latest 10-ship LCS order, worth over US$3.5 billion, awarded at the end of 2010.
The construction contract for Montgomery (LCS 8), valued at US$368.6 million, was announced earlier this year. “Jackson will be the first Littoral Combat Ship to fully realise the efficiencies from Austal’s Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF)”, said Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Joe Rella. “The MMF helps us bring the efficiency of a high-tech assembly line to shipbuilding, giving taxpayers the best value possible.”
This production milestone comes at a busy time for the shipyard. Austal is preparing to launch its first-of-class Joint High Speed Vessel, Spearhead (JHSV 1), this month, and the second Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship Class, Coronado (LCS 4) later this year. Austal is also under contract to build 7 JHSVs, with Vigilant (JHSV 2) construction well underway in the MMF.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. As the ship systems integrator, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems including the combat system, networks, and seaframe control. General Dynamics’ proven open architecture approach provides affordable capabilities to the fleet quickly and efficiently.
These two contracts will require Austal to more than double its Mobile, Alabama workforce to approximately 3,800 employees in order to fulfill the contract requirements. “With almost ten percent of these workers expected to reside in the neighbouring states of Florida and Mississippi, we are proud that Austal is an engine of regional growth for the Gulf,” said Austal USA President and COO, Joe Rella.
Source: austal, August 5, 2011;