Austal USA was awarded a $91,535,551 fixed-price incentive and firm-fixed-price type modification to definitize a previously awarded contract for the detail design and construction of three Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1700 class craft. The contract also includes options for nine additional craft and associated support efforts. LCU are carried aboard amphibious assault ships to the objective area and used across a range of military operations to deliver vehicles, personnel and cargo from sea-to-shore and back. These connectors provide a heavy-lift capability and can carry about the same payload capacity as seven C-17 aircraft. The LCU 1700 class is a replacement for LCU 1466, 1610 and 1627 class vessels.
“Austal USA is honored to be able to build this important connector for the U.S. Navy,” commented Dave Growden, vice president of new construction projects. “We recognize the critical role this platform plays in supporting expeditionary operations for the Navy and Marine Corps and are looking forward to continuing to deliver ships and boats to our customers on time and on budget.”
Austal USA continues to diversify its product line in both steel and aluminum. Production is ongoing for two Navy Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ships (T-ATS) and the Navy’s 90,800 square-foot Auxiliary Floating Dry Dock Medium (AFDM) on the company’s state-of-the-art steel line. Austal USA also holds multi-ship contracts for the Navy’s TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance ship and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Heritage-class Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC) programs. The U.S. Navy initially planned to purchase 30 LCU-1700s, but it remains unclear how construction will be split between Austal USA and Swiftships LLC, the current builder of the LCU 1700.
The LCU 1700 has a length of 42.3 meters, a width of 9.4 meters, and a draft of 1.6 meters. It is powered by two CAT C18 diesel engines, each providing 600 hp at 1800 rpm. The ship can reach a maximum speed of 11 knots and has a maximum cruising range of 1,200 nautical miles. It has a payload capacity of 170 tonnes and can carry two M1 Abrams main battle tanks or 350 combat troops. The crew consists of 14 people, including two officers and 12 non-commissioned officers. The LCU 1700 will be compatible with refit wells on current and planned U.S. Navy amphibious warships, including LHD, LPD, LSD, and LHA classes, without requiring ship modifications.