Austal USA was awarded a $156 million U.S. Navy contract option for the construction of two Navajo-class Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships (T-ATS). With the award, the company is now under contract for four T-ATS having received awards for T-ATS 11 and 12 in October 2021.
T-ATS will provide ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities to support U.S. Navy fleet operations and will be a multi mission common hull platform capable of towing heavy ships. These ships will also be able to support current missions, including oil spill response, humanitarian assistance, and wide area search and surveillance.
The contract award follows Austal USA’s start of construction on its first T-ATS ship earlier this month that was celebrated at a ceremony attended by governmental officials and local community leaders. The highlight of the ceremony had U.S. Representative Jerry Carl (AL-01) pushing the plasma cutter button making the first cut of steel for the ship.
“The T-ATS program is special to our team as it represents the start of construction of a new class of ship for our shipbuilding team. This contract is important because it provides us the backlog to really optimize production over the course of these four ships,” Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh said. “We’re honored to have this contract and it illustrates the Navy’s continued confidence in our team’s demonstrated ability to deliver capability on-time and on-schedule.”
Austal USA will utilize its proven ship manufacturing processes and innovative methods that incorporate lean manufacturing principles, modular construction, and moving assembly lines, all housed under the company’s state-of-the-art enclosed steel production facility. Construction on T-ATS 13 and 14 will commence fall 2023 and spring 2024 with delivery planned for fall 2025 and spring 2026, respectively.
Through continual capital investments, Austal USA has expanded its capability and capacity to enable concurrent production of aluminum and steel-hulled ships. In addition to T-ATS, Austal USA is currently constructing the U.S. Navy’s Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship and Expeditionary Fast Transport, and is under contract for the construction of an Auxiliary Floating Drydock Medium and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Cutter. This unique production capability positions Austal USA to meet the growing demands of the U.S. Navy and USCG.