Austal USA delivered its eighth 421'6"x103.7' Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS) to the U.S. Navy yesterday — the second one delivered this year. The future Tulsa (LCS 16) will be the 13th LCS to enter the fleet. With a displacement of 3,200 MT and a 15.1' draft, Tulsa’s delivery precedes the future Manchester (LCS 14) commissioning, which will take place in New Hampshire at the end of May.

Five LCS remain under construction at Austal’s Mobile, Ala., shipyard. Charleston (LCS 18) is preparing for sea trials. Assembly is underway on Cincinnati (LCS 20) and Kansas City (LCS 22) and modules for Oakland (LCS 24) and Mobile (LCS 26) are under construction. Construction on LCS 28, recently named Savannah, is to begin later this year.

Six Independence-variant LCS are currently homeported in San Diego. Austal is pleased with the feedback we have received from the Navy regarding the work being done by these ships on the West coast.

More than 700 suppliers in 40 states contribute to the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship program. This supplier base supports tens of thousands of small business to large business jobs.

Austal is also under contract to build 12 Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels (EPF) for the U.S. Navy. The company has delivered nine EPFs while an additional three are in various stages of construction.

“The Austal team is excited to turn over another incredible ship to the Navy that will serve our great Sailors,” said Austal USA president Craig Perciavalle. “The maturity and success of the LCS program is a direct result of the dedication of Austal’s talented employees, the excellent teamwork with our suppliers and the full support of our local, state, and federal legislators.”

“I can’t stress enough how proud I am to be a part of this exciting time in both Austal and the Navy’s history,” continued Perciavalle.  “Seeing these awesome ships roll out of our assembly bays one after the other in such quick succession makes me realize how far we’ve come in a very short time.”

Austal USA also announced today that it has acquired privately held ElectraWatch Inc. in an all cash stock purchase. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings and the business will remain a standalone business, part of the Austal USA portfolio.

Headquartered in Charlottesville, Va., ElectraWatch develops and deploys portable probe devices that help efficiently maintain aluminum structures. The acquisition reinforces Austal USA’s position as a global leader in aluminum ship manufacturing and sustainment and extends its ability to support the U.S. Navy fleet where nearly every ship includes aluminum structures.

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.