Austal USA to built two more Navajo-class T-ATS vessels

According to information published by Austal Limited, the company is pleased to announce Austal USA has been awarded its first steel vessel construction contract by the United States Navy, a US$145 million (~A$198.5 million) build of two Towing, Salvage, and Rescue ships (T-ATS 11 and 12).
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Keel laying of Navajo-class USNS Cherokee Nation (Picture source: U.S. Navy)

Austal was initially awarded a US$3.6 million contract by the United States Navy for the functional design of the Navajo-class T-ATS vessels. Overnight awarded the US$145 million (~ A$198.5 million) fixed-price incentive (firm target) contract modification, to include the detailed design and construction of two T-ATS 11 and 12, as well as the option for the additional ships.

The T-ATS contract is the first steel ship construction program awarded by the United States Navy to Austal USA and will be the first program to be delivered in the new steel shipbuilding facilities nearing completion at the shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Austal Limited Chief Executive Officer Paddy Gregg said the contract was an exciting milestone in the history of the company and a great demonstration of the company’s new steel shipbuilding capabilities in the United States, following on from the successful addition of steel shipbuilding in Australia.

The Navajo class is a class of Towing, Salvage, and Rescue Ships of the United States Navy. They were ordered in 2017 as the planned replacement for the aging Safeguard-class rescue and salvage ships and Powhatan-class tugboats. The lead ship of the first batch of six ships was laid down in 2019. Two additional ships were ordered in 2020.

Rescue and salvage ships (hull classification symbol ARS) are a type of military salvage tug. They are tasked with coming to the aid of stricken vessels. Their general mission capabilities include combat salvage, lifting, towing, retraction of grounded vessels, off-ship firefighting, and manned diving operations.