Austal (ASX:ASB) Tuesday announced the eighth Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Tulsa (LCS 16), has successfully completed acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico. This is the last significant milestone required by the US Navy prior to delivery of the vessel.
Austal, working with Navy and industry, ran comprehensive acceptance trials demonstrating the successful operation of the ship’s systems and equipment. LCS 16 will be the second Independence-variant LCS delivered by Austal into service for the Navy this year.
“Austal USA is now operating an assembly line that is rolling out the LCS with unmatched efficiency. This is the fifth Austal designed and built vessel and the third LCS to reach this milestone in the last 12 months” Austal CEO, David Singleton said.
“The investment we have made in our cutting-edge production process is not only a competitive advantage, but increasingly is demonstrating our capacity to reliably deliver some of the world’s most technologically advanced naval vessels” he said.
“Our production team in Alabama has been achieving impressive results by focusing on productivity and quality improvements. LCS 16 has been delivered with nearly 14% less labour hours than LCS 12 which was delivered in September 2017” he said.
“The LCS has a significant economic footprint supporting tens of thousands of jobs through the contributions of more than 900 local suppliers in 41 states involved in the program,” Mr Singleton said.
The LCS program at Austal USA is at a full rate of production with six ships currently under construction and a further two set to commence in the next year. Charleston (LCS 18) is preparing for trials. Final assembly is well underway on Cincinnati (LCS 20) and Kansas City (LCS 22). Modules for Oakland (LCS 24) and Mobile (LCS 26) are under construction in the module manufacturing facility.