Mobile, Ala.-based Austal USA was awarded a contract modification by the Navy Tuesday to build two additional 421'6"x103.7' Independence-variant littoral combat ships, its 16th and 17th ships in the class.

The award of LCS 32 and 34 is a clear sign of the continued confidence the Navy has in Austal’s LCS program, the shipyard said in a statement announcing the contract. The specific value of each contract is under the congressional cost cap of $584 million per ship.

“To be awarded these contracts in such a highly competitive environment is a great honor,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said in a statement. “This is a testament to the hard work and commitment of our talented employees and dedicated supplier network, and further evidence of the important role Austal plays in building the Navy’s 355-ship fleet.”

Each aluminum LCS is powered by twin 12,200-hp MTU 20V8000 diesel engines and two 29,500-hp GE LM2500 gas turbines.

Shipyard officials said Austal continues to reduce cost and deliver on schedule handing over three LCSes to the Navy this year, all under the congressional cost cap. The LCS has been identified as a key component to the Navy’s ability to gain sea control through distributed lethality. This, along with the highly-successful expeditionary fast transport (EPF) program, positions the company well to rapidly and efficiently support the Navy’s desired fleet of 355 ships with affordable solutions. “This amazing team effort highlights the value and importance of the American industrial base, and these awards will keep Austal busy building ships into 2023,” said Perciavalle. Construction of LCS 32 is scheduled to begin in 2019.

Austal delivered the future Charleston (LCS 18) to the Navy last month and is scheduled to deliver Burlington (EPF 10) before the end of the year. To date, Austal has delivered eight LCSes and nine EPFs.

“It’s exciting to hear the positive feedback from the fleet commanders on how well our ships match their mission requirements as they operate globally,” said Perciavalle. “We will continue to build these ships in a safely and timely manner with the quality and craftsmanship that Austal has come to be known for.”



Ken Hocke has been the senior editor of WorkBoat since 1999. He was the associate editor of WorkBoat from 1997 to 1999. Prior to that, he was the editor of the Daily Shipping Guide, a transportation daily in New Orleans. He has written for other publications including The Times-Picayune. He graduated from Louisiana State University with an arts and sciences degree, with a concentration in English, in 1978.