The extended air defence domain poses increasing challenges with fast-growing and complex threats, such as manoeuvring ballistic missiles, hypersonic cruise missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles. These new threats need to be addressed by dedicated interception solutions to ensure the efficient protection of domestic high value assets and operational deployments in the coming decades.

Aquila MIP
AQUILA: MBDA to lead consortium for European interceptor against hypersonic threats

MBDA has worked for more than five years on innovative options for counter-hypersonic air-defence building on our expertise from the ASTER anti-missile interceptor and our deep knowledge of threats. This is the AQUILA project, proposing the most valuable counter-hypersonic interceptor concepts for European nations, alongside a global area defence portfolio with other MBDA air defence products.

In March 2023, MBDA was invited with its partners to tender for a concept architecture and technology maturation study of an endo-atmospheric interceptor against the new high end emerging threats.

HYDIS² is the HYpersonic Defence Interceptor Study proposed by MBDA with a consortium bringing together 19 partners and more than 30 subcontractors across 14 European countries.

The members of the consortium are defence groups, institutions, SMEs (Societies of Manufacturing Engineers), mid-caps and universities, all with strong, recognised expertise in the key technologies/areas needed for the purpose of the study of such a new interceptor. The consortium gathers the best competences in the domains of missiles from across the European Union, with the highest aeronautical scientific references, and actors in novel domains to take up the gauntlet of the counter-hypersonic challenge.

Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: «This project offers a significant European benefit, contributing to European resilience and technological sovereignty by enhancing co-operation and interoperability between EU countries. This project will also contribute to reinforcing the sovereign missile systems industry in Europe, by sustaining and developing critical expertise, technologies and materials; thus, boosting European industrial competitiveness. The technologies in the hypersonic domain are evolving, and it is a priority for MBDA to remain at the forefront of innovation, guiding Europe towards the most efficient solution to counter hypersonic threats».

The objective of HYDIS² is to design various interceptor concepts and mature the associated critical technologies to deliver the best interception solution that fulfils the four member states needs – France, Italy, Germany and The Netherlands – and copes with the European TWISTER (Timely Warning and Interception with Space-based Theater surveillance) capability programme. This is a central element of the contribution of European states to the mission of defence of populations and armed forces, in particular against the emerging hypersonic threats that constitute a radical change from ballistic ones.

France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands have already confirmed their support and commitment by signing a Letter of Intent and agreeing on Initial Common Requirements.

Mistral 3

The Minister for the Armed Forces for France, and his counterparts from Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia and Hungary, on Monday 19 June 2023 signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the joint acquisition of the Mistral 3 ground-based air defence system.

Mistral 3
France, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia and Hungary sign a Letter of Intent for the joint acquisition of the Mistral 3 ground-based air defence system

Led by the French Ministry for the Armed Forces with support from MBDA, the intent is to implement a joint acquisition of Mistral 3 by the French procurement agency Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) on behalf of all the partner countries.

Such an initiative is a concrete illustration of the European Council’s willingness, in the current geostrategic context at the borders of Europe, to reinforce through cooperation the defence capabilities of the European Union (EU) and its member states.

A joint acquisition could benefit from the EU support and allow scale economies to be made so as to incentivise Member States to procure defence products jointly while reinforcing the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) competitiveness.

Eric Béranger, CEO of MBDA, said: «Cooperation is at the very heart of MBDA’s DNA, and I firmly believe that we are stronger together. This signature, and our plans to double Mistral annual production capacity, underlines the company’s continuous commitment to projects giving substance to the European defence agenda».

Mistral 3, currently in service with the French armed forces, is an air defence missile equipped with an infrared imaging seeker and advanced image processing capabilities. It can engage low thermal signature targets such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), turbojet-powered missiles and fast attack craft at long range. It also offers excellent resistance to countermeasures.


At the Paris Air Show, Leonardo showcases the latest version of its multi-function radar family for air and anti-ballistic missile defence, designed to meet the market’s new requirements.

Kronos Grand Mobile High Power
Leonardo’s Kronos Grand Mobile High Power (GMHP) radar makes its international premiere at Le Bourget

Enhanced performance through AESA electronic scanning technology and high tactical mobility with optimised deployment times.

The global market for air and missile defence radars will be worth around 102 billion euros over the decade from 2023 to 2032. Asia Pacific and Europe lead the way, followed by North America and the Middle East.

Current and future operational scenarios require increasingly advanced surveillance and protection capabilities against air and missile threats. To meet evolving operational and market requirements, building on the experience gained with the Kronos radar family, Leonardo has developed Kronos Grand Mobile High Power, an enhanced version of the sensor. The system made its public debut at an international trade fair, the Paris Air Show, which is currently in progress.

Supported by Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology, the multi-function, multi-mission C-band Kronos Grand Mobile High Power (GMHP) radar focuses mainly on surveillance and air defence in land and coastal environments. Its primary mission is detecting and precisely tracking ballistic missiles, even in complex and highly disturbed environments, alongside target designation and missile guidance. The sensor’s compact design ensures high tactical mobility, fast deployment times, and a 300 km/186 miles-plus aerial surveillance range.

The latest evolution of the Kronos family provides greater power and reliability, with its new gallium nitride (‘GaN’) components – developed in-house in Leonardo’s ‘foundry’ – featuring in the thousands of Transmit Receive Modules (TRMs) comprising the antenna.

The Greek Air Force recently selected Kronos GMHP as its primary sensor for the NATO missile test range based in Crete. Italy also chose it as the surveillance and engagement radar for its version of the latest-generation SAMP/T surface-to-air missile system built by the Eurosam consortium (MBDA 66.6% – Thales Group 33.3%).

The Kronos radar family, of which the latest GMHP version is a member, is designed for land and sea domains. Kronos radars, available in fixed and mobile versions, can perform several functions simultaneously and different types of operational missions. Many countries in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and South America already use these systems as the central sensor of Integrated Air and Missile Defence (IAMD) architectures. There are over 40 Kronos radars in service worldwide.


Austal Limited (Austal) is pleased to announce Austal Australia has delivered the fifth of eight Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats (ECCPB’s) to the Royal Australian Navy.

ADV Cape Woolamai (318)
Austal Australia has delivered the fifth Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat, ADV Cape Woolamai (318) to the Royal Australian Navy (Photo: Austal)

The vessel, ADV Cape Woolamai (318) was officially accepted by the Commonwealth of Australia on 22 June 2023.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer, Paddy Gregg said the delivery of the fifth Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat again highlights Austal’s proven shipbuilding capabilities, efficiency and productivity from the Henderson, Western Australia shipyard.

«With the delivery of every Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat, Austal is demonstrating the capacity, capability, and expertise to construct naval vessels for Australia to the highest quality, efficiently. This latest vessel, the ADV Cape Woolamai (318), is the fifth we have delivered in just 15 months. We’re launching and delivering a new patrol boat every three months, following approximately 12 months construction. Austal’s highly skilled and efficient local production team, supported by our trusted supply chain partners, are achieving outstanding productivity in the delivery of the Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat Project for the Royal Australian Navy. We remain on track to deliver all eight Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats on schedule, in mid-2024 and thank the Commonwealth again for their trust in our team to deliver this great capability for Australia», Mr. Gregg added.

The 58-metre/190-foot aluminium monohull patrol boat is the fifth of eight to be delivered to the Royal Australian Navy since the project commenced in May 2020. The first four Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boats, ADV Cape Otway (314), ADV Cape Peron (315), ADV Cape Naturaliste (316), and ADV Cape Capricorn (317) were delivered within a twelve-month period, from March 2022. The sixth Evolved Cape-class patrol Boat, the ADV Cape Pillar (319), was launched at the company’s Henderson, Western Australia shipyard earlier this month.

The Evolved Capes feature new, larger amenities to accommodate up to 32 people, improved quality of life systems and advanced sustainment intelligence systems that further enhance the Royal Australian Navy’s ability to fight and win at sea. The patrol boats will be utilised for a wide variety of constabulary and naval missions and play a critical role in Australia’s national security, as a high-performing, reliable and effective maritime asset.

Austal Australia continues to employ approximately 400 people (directly) in Western Australia and is engaging more than 300 supply chain partners across Australia, to deliver the Evolved Cape-class Patrol Boat Project (SEA1445-1) for the Royal Australian Navy.

In-service support for the Cape, Evolved Cape and Guardian-class Patrol Boat fleets operated by the Australian Border Force, Royal Australian Navy and Pacific Island nations is provided by Austal Australia through dedicated service centres located in Henderson, Western Australia; Cairns, Queensland; and Darwin, Northern Territory.

Austal Australia is also contracted to deliver 22 steel Guardian-class Patrol Boats to the Commonwealth of Australia under the Pacific Patrol Boat Replacement Project (SEA3036-1) and has delivered 15 vessels since 2018.

This ASX announcement has been approved and authorised for release by Paddy Gregg, Austal Limited’s Chief Executive Officer.

The forward end of Cardiff

The forward end of HMS Cardiff (F89), the second Type 26 City Class frigate, has emerged from BAE Systems’ ship build hall at Govan for the first time in an important moment for the programme to deliver the most advanced anti-submarine warfare capability available to the Royal Navy.

HMS Cardiff (F89)
Type 26 frigate HMS Cardiff (F89) emerges on Govan skyline

The aft section will follow in the coming days as the company’s engineers prepare to join the whole ship together on the hardstand at the Glasgow shipyard on the river Clyde. HMS Cardiff (F89) will undergo further structural work on the hardstand before being floated off and transported along the Clyde to BAE Systems’ Scotstoun facility in 2024.

«The emergence of HMS Cardiff (F89) is a very proud moment for everyone involved in her construction. We have now completed all major units of the ship and in the coming weeks our skilled teams will consolidate the ship in preparation for float off next year. The roll out is a great milestone for the Type 26 programme. It’s evidence of our solid progress on delivering the Type 26 programme and presents an opportunity for us to celebrate the progress being made with our colleagues, our suppliers, our customer and the cities of Cardiff and Glasgow», said Simon Lister, Managing Director of BAE Systems’ Naval Ships business.

First of class, HMS Glasgow (F88), is already being outfitted at BAE Systems’ Scotstoun facility nearby. Construction of all eight Type 26 frigates is expected to be completed by the mid-2030s, with HMS Glasgow (F88) the first to be delivered to the Royal Navy in the mid-2020s.

With preparation work under way for the construction of a new £100 m-plus ship build hall at the Govan site, HMS Cardiff (F89) will be the last of the frigates to have its hull sections integrated on the hardstand in the open air. The process for the remaining six ships will take place under cover and will therefore be less weather dependent.

Carl M. Levin

The Navy commissioned its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120), during a 10:00 a.m. EDT ceremony on Saturday, June 24, in Baltimore, Maryland.

USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120)
USS Carl M. Levin a flight 2A class Arleigh Burke destroyer commissioned in Baltimore on June 24, 2023

The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Remarks had also been provided Admiral Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations; the Honorable Justin Williams, deputy mayor of the City of Baltimore; and Mr. Charles F. Krugh, president, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The ship’s sponsors are Senator Levin’s daughters, Kate Levin Markel, Erica Levin, and Laura Levin.

The ship’s namesake served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years from 1979-2015. As the longest serving senator in Michigan state history, Levin became a staunch supporter of the armed services through his work and leadership as Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. Levin passed away on July 29, 2021.

The ship, which will be homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, was the 72nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer commissioned, with 17 additional ships currently under contract for the DDG-51 program. The ship is configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which enables power projection and delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare.


Ship Characteristics

Length Overall 510 feet/156 m
Beam – Waterline 59 feet/18 m
Draft 31 feet/9.5 m
Displacement – Full Load 9,217 tons/9,363 metric tons
Power Plant 4 General Electric LM 2500-30 gas turbines; 2 shafts; 2 CRP (Contra-Rotating) propellers; 100,000 shaft horsepower/75,000 kW
Speed in excess of 30 knots/34.5 mph/55.5 km/h
Range 4,400 NM/8,149 km at 20 knots/23 mph/37 km/h
Crew 380 total: 32 Officers, 27 CPO (Chief Petty Officer), 321 OEM
Surveillance SPY-1D Phased Array Radar (Lockheed Martin)/AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar (Raytheon Company) and Aegis Combat System (Lockheed Martin); SPS-73(V) Navigation; SPS-67(V)3 Surface Search; 3 SPG-62 Illuminator; SQQ-89(V)6 sonar incorporating SQS-53C hull mounted and SQR-19 towed array sonars used with Mark-116 Mod 7 ASW fire control system
Electronics/Countermeasures SLQ-32(V)3; Mark-53 Mod 0 Decoy System; Mark-234 Decoy System; SLQ-25A Torpedo Decoy; SLQ-39 Surface Decoy; URN-25 TACAN; UPX-29 IFF System; Kollmorgen Mark-46 Mod 1 Electro-Optical Director
Aircraft 2 embarked SH-60 helicopters ASW operations; RAST (Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse)
Armament 2 Mark-41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) with 96 Standard, Vertical Launch ASROC (Anti-Submarine Rocket) & Tomahawk ASM (Air-to-Surface Missile)/LAM (Loitering Attack Missile); 5-in (127-mm)/54 (62) Mark-45 gun; 2 (1) CIWS (Close-In Weapon System); 2 Mark-32 triple 324-mm torpedo tubes for Mark-46 or Mark-50 ASW torpedos


Guided Missile Destroyers Lineup


Flight IIA: Technology Insertion

Ship Yard Launched Commissioned Homeport
DDG-116 Thomas Hudner GDBIW 04-23-17 12-01-18 Mayport, Florida
DDG-117 Paul Ignatius HIIIS 11-12-16 07-27-19 Mayport, Florida
DDG-118 Daniel Inouye GDBIW 10-27-19 12-08-21 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
DDG-119 Delbert D. Black HIIIS 09-08-17 09-26-20 Mayport, Florida
DDG-120 Carl M. Levin GDBIW 05-16-21 06-14-23 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
DDG-121 Frank E. Peterson Jr. HIIIS 07-13-18 05-14-22 Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
DDG-122 John Basilone GDBIW 06-12-22
DDG-123 Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee HIIIS 01-27-20 05-13-23 San Diego, California
DDG-124 Harvey C. Barnum Jr. GDBIW
DDG-127 Patrick Gallagher GDBIW
USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120)
USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120) is headed for Baltimore

AMRAAM missiles

Raytheon Technologies was awarded a $1.15 billion contract for AIM-120 D-3 and C-8 AMRAAM missiles. This is the largest AMRAAM missile contract to date and the fifth production lot of the highly advanced missiles developed under the Form, Fit, Function Refresh, also known as F3R, which updates both the missile’s hardware and allows for Agile software upgrades.

An AIM-120 D-3 sits at Raytheon’s Tucson, Arizona plant. The AIM-120 D-3 is the latest variant of the combat-proven AMRAAM, developed under the Form, Fit, Function refresh, known as F3R

«We recognize AMRAAM is the most advanced, combat-proven missile, and we owe it to the warfighters to ensure they have the technology they need when they need it», said Paul Ferraro, president of Air Power for Raytheon. «Be it air-to-air or surface-to-air, AMRAAM continues its proud legacy with greater power and precision than ever before with this contract».

In addition to providing missiles to both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, the contract also supplies AMRAAM all-up-rounds and/or spares to 18 countries, including Ukraine, extending the production line for both the U.S. and Allied partners.

Under the F3R program, engineers used model-based systems engineering initiatives and other digital technologies to upgrade multiple circuit cards and other hardware in the guidance section of the missile and to re-host legacy software in the AIM-120 D-3 and AIM-120 C-8 AMRAAMs.

571 Sidewinder

Raytheon Technologies was awarded a $264 million modification to a production Lot 23 contract originally awarded in December 2022. Under the modification, Raytheon, an RTX business, will produce and deliver 571 AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles and associated parts for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and foreign military sales customers.

AIM-9X Sidewinder
Raytheon Technologies awarded $264 million U.S. Navy modification contract to produce AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles

«AIM-9X Sidewinder is the world’s most advanced, combat-proven infrared missile, providing advanced capabilities to the U.S. and our international allies», said Kim Ernzen, president of Naval Power at Raytheon. «The weapon’s versatility and inherent growth potential makes it a triple-threat missile offering an unmatched level of lethality and survivability to counter threats».

Included in the modification, Raytheon will also provide captive air training systems, containers, spare assets, and related kits and support equipment. The majority of work will be performed within the continental U.S. and is expected to be completed in August 2026.

The AIM-9X Sidewinder missile is a triple-threat missile that can be used for air-to-air engagements, surface-attack, and surface-launch missions without modifications. A U.S. Navy-led joint program with the U.S. Air Force, the AIM-9X Sidewinder also has 31 Foreign Military Sales partners. The advanced infrared-tracking, short-range missile is combat proven in several theaters around the world.

Last And Final

Austal USA hosted a keel laying ceremony late last week for the future USS Pierre (LCS-38) Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) at the company’s Gulf Coast shipyard. Ship sponsor Larissa Thune Hargens, with the assistance of Hon Tran – a 13-year Austal USA veteran A-class welder, authenticated the keel by welding her initials into a keel plate that will be welded to the hull of the ship.

USS Pierre (LCS-38)
USS Pierre (LCS-38) – Keel Laying (Austal USA picture)

The future USS Pierre is the final Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship being built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. LCS-38 is the second U.S. Navy ship named for the South Dakota capital city. The original USS Pierre (PC-1141) was a submarine chaser built during World War II.

«Keel laying represents a major milestone in the construction of a ship», said Dave Growden, vice president of new construction. «While every keel laying we celebrate is special, this one has added significance as it starts to close the line of a highly successful program».

The ceremony was widely attended by community and U.S. Navy leaders and Austal USA shipbuilders. Notably, in a strong statement of support for the future USS Pierre (LCS-38), from the South Dakota delegation, Senator John Thune and Senator Mike Rounds attended the event along with the Mayor of Pierre, Mayor Steve Harding.

«This is a special honor for the city of Pierre and all of South Dakota», said Thune. «It’s also a good day for the Navy and the men and women of our joint forces. I’m particularly humbled, of course, to have had the privilege of introducing my daughter Larissa as the ship’s sponsor – a proud dad moment».

Hargens, a native of South Dakota, graduated from Bethel University. The call to serve runs deep in her family, Hargens is involved with a non-profit incentive program that helps limited-income pregnant women in Sioux Falls, her father is U.S. Senator John Thune and her grandfather was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight in Fighting Squadron 18 (VF-18) on the USS Intrepid (CV-11) during World War II.

«I am so honored and grateful for this incredible opportunity to sponsor the future USS Pierre (LCS-38)», stated Hargens. «It is a privilege to be a part of this time-honored tradition and to have my initials welded to a plate that will become a part of the ship’s keel. I look forward to participating in the important milestones throughout the life of the USS Pierre (LCS-38), and to building a lifelong relationship with the ship and the sailors that will make up her crew. May God bless the USS Pierre (LCS-38)».

Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships are fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. Austal USA has delivered 17 LCS to the Navy since 2009, most of which have been deployed with the Pacific Fleet. The shallow-draft Independence-variant LCS have been opening up places for the Navy to operate where they had not been for years. The ship’s steerable water jets allow for effective maneuverability in and out of austere ports. With the Naval Strike Missile and mine counter measure capability that has been added to the ships, they can conduct mine hunting and mine warfare missions throughout the Pacific making them a highly functioning platform.

Pierre is planned for delivery in late 2024 and will be homeported in San Diego, California, along with the other Independence LCSs that have been delivered to the fleet.


The Independence Variant of the LCS

Construction Hull and superstructure – aluminium alloy
Length overall 421 feet/128.3 m
Beam overall 103 feet/31.4 m
Hull draft (maximum) 14.8 feet/4.5 m
Complement Core Crew – 40
Mission crew – 36
Berthing 76 in a mix of single, double & quad berthing compartments
Maximum mission load 210 tonnes
Mission Bay Volume 118,403 feet3/11,000 m3
Mission packages Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Surface Warfare (SUW)
Mine Warfare (MIW)
Main engines 2 × GE LM2500
2 × MTU 20V 8000
Waterjets 4 × Wartsila steerable
Bow thruster Retractable azimuthing
Speed 40 knots/46 mph/74 km/h
Range 3,500 NM/4,028 miles/6,482 km
Operational limitation Survival in Sea State 8
Deck area >21,527.8 feet2/2,000 m2
Launch and recovery Twin boom extending crane
Loading Side ramp
Internal elevator to hanger
Launch/Recover Watercraft Sea State 4
Flight deck dimensions 2 × SH-60 or 1 × CH-53 or multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles/Vertical Take-off and Land Tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs/VTUAVs)
Hanger Aircraft stowage & maintenance for 2 × SH-60
Launch/Recover Aircraft Sea State 5
Standard 1 × 57-mm gun
4 × 12.7-mm/.50 caliber guns
1 × Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) launcher
3 × weapons modules



Ship Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport
USS Independence (LCS-2) 01-19-2006 04-26-2008 01-16-2010 San Diego, California
USS Coronado (LCS-4) 12-17-2009 01-14-2012 04-05-2014 San Diego, California
USS Jackson (LCS-6) 08-01-2011 12-14-2013 12-05-2015 San Diego, California
USS Montgomery (LCS-8) 06-25-2013 08-06-2014 09-10-2016 San Diego, California
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) 04-16-2014 02-25-2015 06-10-2017 San Diego, California
USS Omaha (LCS-12) 02-18-2015 11-20-2015 02-03-2018 San Diego, California
USS Manchester (LCS-14) 06-29-2015 05-12-2016 05-26-2018 San Diego, California
USS Tulsa (LCS-16) 01-11-2016 03-16-2017 02-16-2019 San Diego, California
USS Charleston (LCS-18) 06-28-2016 09-14-2017 03-02-2019 San Diego, California
USS Cincinnati (LCS-20) 04-10-2017 05-22-2018 10-05-2019 San Diego, California
USS Kansas City (LCS-22) 11-15-2017 10-19-2018 06-20-2020 San Diego, California
USS Oakland (LCS-24) 07-20-2018 07-21-2019 04-17-2021 San Diego, California
USS Mobile (LCS-26) 12-14-2018 01-11-2020 05-22-2021 San Diego, California
USS Savannah (LCS-28) 09-20-2018 09-08-2020 02-05-2022 San Diego, California
USS Canberra (LCS-30) 03-10-2020 03-30-2021 San Diego, California
USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32) 10-27-2020 11-12-2021 04-01-2022 San Diego, California
USS Augusta (LCS-34) 07-30-2021 05-23-2022 San Diego, California
USS Kingsville (LCS-36) 02-23-2022 03-27-2023 San Diego, California
USS Pierre (LCS-38) 06-16-2023 San Diego, California



Austal Limited is pleased to announce that Austal USA has been awarded a US$71,706,745 (~A$104 million) fixed-price incentive contract option from the United States Navy for the construction of an additional Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS-15).

Austal USA has been awarded a contract for an additional Towing, Salvage and Rescue ship (T-ATS-15) for the U.S. Navy (Image: U.S. Navy)

With the award, the company is now under contract for five T-ATS, having received awards for T-ATS-13 and T-ATS-14 in July 2022 and T-ATS-11 and T-ATS-12 in October 2021.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the contract award again highlights Austal USA’s growing steel shipbuilding capability, following the start of construction on T-ATS-11 and T-ATS-12, and more recently the Auxiliary Floating Dock Medium, for the United States Navy.

«Austal USA’s steel shipbuilding capabilities and capacity continues to impress, with three steel vessels now underway in Mobile, Alabama; in addition to the multiple aluminium vessels and component projects also under construction», Mr. Gregg said.

«In addition to the LCS, EPF and T-ATS programs, construction has just commenced on the steel Auxiliary Floating Dock Medium (AFDM), which will further demonstrate Austal USA’s capabilities and capacity to deliver large steel vessels for the United States Navy and United States Coast Guard».

«The Austal USA team are also delivering submarine modules for the Virginia-class submarines and aircraft elevators for the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers, so they are without doubt making a significant contribution to the United States’ defence industrial base».

T-ATS is an ocean-going tug, salvage, and rescue ship designed to support the United States Navy’s fleet operations, with a multi-mission common hull platform capable of towing heavy ships. The ships can support a variety of missions, including oil spill response, humanitarian assistance, search and rescue and surveillance.

With construction due to commence on T-ATS-13 and T-ATS-14 in the second half of CY2023, T-ATS-15 is scheduled to commence construction in the first half of CY2024, with delivery planned in late 2027.

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 in Mobile, Alabama. This unique production capability continues to position Austal USA to meet the ongoing, growing demands of both the Navy and Coast Guard.

In addition to T-ATS, Austal USA is currently constructing the United States Navy’s Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) and Spearhead-class Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ships and has commenced construction of a 211-metre/692-foot steel Auxiliary Floating Drydock (Medium).

In May 2023 Austal USA was awarded a contract for the detail design and construction of up to 7 steel T-AGOS Ocean Surveillance Ships worth up to US$3.2 billion and in 2022, the company was awarded a contract for up to 11 steel Offshore Patrol Cutters for the United States Coast Guard, worth up to US $3.3 billion.

This ASX announcement has been approved and authorised for release by Paddy Gregg, Austal Limited’s Chief Executive Officer.