Austal USA discusses future of U.S. Navy’s LCS program

austal.jpgThe first Austal-built Joint High Speed Vessel, USNS Spearhead (Submitted photo)

MOBILE, Alabama – Austal USA joined representatives of over 50 suppliers from 25 states earlier this month at a conference in Washington D.C. for the future of the U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program.

Austal USA’s president and CEO, Joe Rella, joined top Navy officials in educating attendees on the Navy’s plans for the program, its acquisition plan and providing an overview on program challenges .

“Besides the needs expressed by the Navy for the LCS program to continue to deliver ships in support of their vital multi-mission capabilities, we need to ensure that representatives from around the country realize that folks are employed beyond the borders of the shipbuilder’s home state,” Rella said in a statement. “Thousands of people are employed directly as first tier suppliers in over 25 states and when considering second tier suppliers the reach extends to the entire nation.”

Austal USA in Mobile builds Joint High Speed Vessels and LCS vessels. It is the Mobile area’s largest industrial employer, with about 2,800 employees.

The shipyard is under contract with the Navy to build nine 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract and five 127-meter Independence-variant LCS vessels, four of which are part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract.

The two contracts will require Austal to increase its Mobile workforce to about 4,000 employees in order to fulfill the contract requirements.

“With almost ten percent of these workers expected to reside in the neighboring states of Florida and Mississippi, we are proud that Austal is an engine of regional growth for the Gulf States and the entire Nation,” Rella said in a statement.

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