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Austal nets $261.8M for work on next two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships

By Allen Cone
Austal nets $261.8M for work on next two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships
The USNS Burlington, which is the newest expeditionary fast transport ship, pulls into Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach on Feb. 14. Photo by Brian Suriani/U.S. Navy

March 26 (UPI) -- The Navy has awarded Austal $261.8 million for work on the construction of two Expeditionary Fast Transport vessels.

The contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, includes the design and construction of the 13th and 14th EPF ships, as well as long-lead-time material for their construction.

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The Spearhead-class of EPF ships are used to transport personnel, supplies and equipment for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Army.

The new contract follows Austal's $1.8 billion contract for the first 12 EPF vessels.

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Austal received contracts for the 13th and 14th vessels last year for long-lead-time material and production engineering, with the company receiving a $57 million contract for EPF 13 in October and a $40.4 million contract for EPF 14 in December.

With options, the new contract is valued at more than $370.7 million.

The 337-foot long aluminum catamarans are capable of transporting 600 tons of cargo and 312 troops. Its range is 1,200 nautical miles at speeds of 35-45 knots per hour.

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The ship can operate in shallow ports and waterways and can on/off-loading heavy armored vehicles like the M1 Abrams tank. A flight deck is used for helicopter and drone operations.

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Ten vessels in the class are operational, including the first ship, the Spearhead, which was delivered in 2012, and the newest, the Burlington, received by the U.S. Navy last November. The future Puerto Rico and Newport are under construction.

The new contract, which combines design and parts procurement for the new vessels, also definitizes previous undefinitized contract actions, resulting in funds greater than its value being obligated to Austal.

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With the award, $134.6 million in Navy fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion funds and $161.8 million in fiscal 2019 shipbuilding and conversion funds were obligated to Austal, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

Work will mainly be performed at sites across the United States, including 54 percent at Austal's facility in Mobile, Ala.

Work is expected to completed by July 2022.

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