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Austal Limited
Public limited company
Traded as ASXASB
Industry Defence, Shipbuilding
Founded 1988; 29 years ago (1988)
Headquarters Henderson, Cockburn, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Area served
Key people
John Rothwell (Chairman)
David Singleton (CEO)
Products Warships, Merchant vessels, Platform supply vessels
Number of employees
Subsidiaries Austal USA
Austal Philippines

Austal is an Australian-based global ship building company and defence prime contractor that specialises in the design, construction and support of defence and commercial vessels.[dead link] Austal's product range includes naval vessels, high speed passenger and vehicle ferries and specialist utility vessels including offshore windfarm and crew transfer vessels.

Austal has three major ship building facilities. Defence vessels are designed and constructed in Henderson, Western Australia and Mobile, Alabama in the United States of America and commercial vessels are constructed in Balamban, Cebu in the Philippines. Vessel support is provided through service centres located in Australia, the United States of America and Oman in the Middle East. Corporate headquarters is co-located at the Australian ship building facility in Henderson, Western Australia.

Since 1988, Austal has designed and constructed over 250 vessels for navies, defence forces and commercial fleet operators around the world, including the Royal Australian Navy and the United States Navy. Major contracts currently include the Independence class littoral combat ship and Joint High Speed Vessel for the United States Navy, the Cape-class patrol boat for the Australian Border Force and the High Speed Support Vessel for the Royal Navy of Oman.


Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)[edit]

Rear view of the USS Independence

In October 2005, Austal/General Dynamics was awarded a contract to build the first unit from its design for a Littoral Combat Ship. The keel of the future USS Independence was laid on 19 January 2006 at Austal USA's yard in Mobile, Alabama, and the naming ceremony was held on 4 October 2008.[1] It is now operating with the fleet at its current location in Norfolk, Virginia.[2]

The LCS 2 was the first ship built by Austal USA for the US Navy and the Navy's first Trimaran Littoral Combat Ship. It is the first naval warship constructed in Mobile, Alabama since World War II. The basis of Austal's seaframe design is the 127-metre trimaran hull Benchijigua Express.

The originally planned second Austal/GD ship (LCS-4) was cancelled on 1 November 2007.[3]

On 1 May 2009, the Navy renewed the contract with Austal/GD to build the second LCS, the USS Coronado, with delivery scheduled for May 2012.[4]

Highspeed 5 of Hellenic Seaways in the port of Ios

On 29 December 2010 the U.S Navy, as per a decision in 2010 to award contracts for Littoral Combat Ships to both Austal USA and Lockheed Martin, announced a new contract with Austal USA (who had separated from General Dynamics Bath Iron Works[5]). The contract called for one ship to be built beginning in 2010 (the USS Jackson), one to be built in 2011 (the USS Montgomery), and two per year from 2012 to 2015. The contract for the LCS 6 was for $432 million with a goal of having the average ship cost be $352 million per. Another $20 million was figured in for change orders, and a "management reserve" is included.[6]

Expeditionary Fast Transport EPF (formerly known as Joint High Speed Vessel - JHSV)[edit]

MV WestPac Express

In November 2008, Austal was awarded a contract to design and build the US military's next-generation high-speed catamaran, multi-use platform, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), as part of a programme potentially worth over US$1.6 billion.

As prime contractor, Austal was to design and construct the first 103-metre JHSV, with options for 9 additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13. Construction on the second ship started in September 2010. Austal now has contracts for three ships, long-lead material contracts for two ships and options for five further ships, for a total of ten.[7]

The new JHSV is similar to the Austal-built WestPac Express, which the US Marines have used since 2002.

HMAS Armidale at Darling Harbour

The JHSV will be able to carry 700 short tons (including M1 Abrams main battle tanks) 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots (65 km/h) and be able to unload at roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities. It will be 103 meters long, 28.5 meters beam with a crew of 22 to 40.[8]

The first four will be named USNS Spearhead, USNS Choctaw County, USNS Millinocket and USNS Fall River.[9][10]

While the JHSV can carry 300 marines and their gear for up to four days, it is not expected to be survivable against enemy attack.[11]

Navy planners envision building up to two dozen of the JHSV ships over the next decade.[12]

In early 2014, Austal announced it had been awarded a $124.9 million contract for two High Speed Support Vessels (HSSV) for the Royal Navy of Oman. The HSSV has a similar catamaran hull design as the JHSV. Both are to be delivered in 2016.[13]

Cape Class Patrol Boats[edit]

Austal was awarded the contract for the design, construction and through-life support of the Cape class patrol boats for the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service in August 2011. The eight 58-metre aluminium monohulls were delivered between March 2013 and August 2015.

The support contract extends for a minimum period of eight years and encompasses a full range of intermediate and depot level maintenance activities. Further options can be exercised by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service for In-Service Support for the life of the Cape Class Patrol Boat Fleet.

Austal announced it has entered into a shipbuilding contract with the National Australia Bank to construct two further Cape Class Patrol Boats on 13 December 2015. The contract value is $63 million. The two vessels will be delivered to the National Australia Bank in mid-2017 and subsequently chartered to the Commonwealth of Australia (Department of Defence) for a minimum term of three years. Austal has successfully employed a similar off balance sheet charter of defence ships through the charter of Westpac Express to the US Navy for 13 years.[14]

Armidale Class Patrol Boats[edit]

Between June 2005 and February 2008, Austal delivered fourteen 56.8-metres (186 ft) Armidale class patrol boats to the Royal Australian Navy for coastal defence. These vessels were featured on the TV series Sea Patrol.

P21 Class Patrol Boats[edit]

The Maltese patrol boat P24.

In 2009 the Maritime Squadron of the Armed Forces of Malta ordered four patrol boats from Austal.[15] They were due to replace the Swift-class patrol boats P23 and P24 which had been in commission since 1971 and the Bremse-class patrol boat P32 which had been in commission since 1992. The new vessels were built to Maltese specifications and were partly financed by the EU.[16]

The first two vessels were launched in October 2009.[17][18] All four vessels were delivered to Malta in late 2009, and were officially commissioned on 18 March 2010.[19]

The vessels are armed with machine guns and they mount a firefighting water cannon on the aft fly bridge. They are mainly used for search and rescue purposes, border patrol and to rescue illegal immigrants, similar to Grup Aresa International's rescue vessels.

Yemen Navy patrol boats[edit]

Austal bulit Yemen Navy patrol boat P-1023

In 2005 Austal delivered ten high-speed patrol boats to the Yemen Navy, which are now hired out (with active duty Navy and Coast Guard crews) to protect private shippers.[20][21]

Commercial and leisure vessels[edit]

An Austal 48 for New World First Ferry in Hong Kong and Macau
The MS Villum Clausen was built and delivered in 2000 to Bornholmstrafikken on the Danish island of Bornholm.

Austal has designed and built a range of commercial and leisure vessels.

On 20 August 2014, Austal announced the sale of "Austal Hull 270", the Company’s 102-meter trimaran stock vessel, to the U.K. Channel Islands’ ferry operator, Condor Ferries, for A$61.5 million, and was renamed the Condor Liberation. Additionally, modifications to the stock vessel are valued at approximately A$6 million, and was scheduled to enter service in the Spring 2015. On 28 March 2015, the ship struck the quayside while attempting to dock in Guernsey on its second day in service. Fortunately, damage was only minor and above the waterline. Since then, the Liberation has had a difficult period of operation with Condor Ferries, encountering numerous technical problems, cancellations due to weather and sustaining further damage to its hull whilst docked in Poole on 30 December 2015. [22]

See also[edit]

Austal XXm turbojet buyer(only HK AND MACAU)[edit]


  1. ^ "Navy Christens Littoral Combat Ship Independence". U.S. Department of Defense. 10 January 2008. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "U.S.Navy Press Release No. 1269-07" (Press release). 1 November 2007. Archived from the original on 4 November 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2007. 
  4. ^ "Navy orders second LCS from Austal". 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Austal starts work on 2nd high-speed military transport ship
  8. ^ JHSV vs. LCS
  9. ^ Construction Commences on First Navy Joint High Speed Vessel
  10. ^ "Austal Celebrates Keel Laying for JHSV2 – the "Choctaw County"" (Press release). Austal. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Austal to build JHSVs for U.S. Navy
  12. ^ Cavas, Christopher P. "JHSV Module Damaged at Ala. Shipyard." Defense News, 14 June 2011
  13. ^ Austal contract for two 72m High Speed Support Vessels is for the Royal Navy of Oman -, 10 July 2014
  14. ^ "Expansion of Cape Class Program" (Press release). Austal. 13 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "Visit to Australia by Republic of Malta Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs The Hon Dr Tonio Borg" (Press release). Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 17 April 2009. 
  16. ^ ""Excellent Relationship" Sees Rapid Patrol Boat Construction" (Press release). Austal. 3 July 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  17. ^ "New AFM patrol boats launched". Times of Malta. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  18. ^ "Austal Launches Maltese Patrol Boats" (Press release). Austal. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 15 October 2009. 
  19. ^ "Patrol boats to be commissioned on Thursday". Times of Malta. 16 March 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Austal to Build 10 Naval Patrol Boats for Yemen."
  21. ^ Knickmeyer, Ellen. "The Privateers of Yemen." Foreign Policy Magazine, 17 November 2010
  22. ^ "Sale of Stock Boat "Austal Hull 270", and Customisation Contract Award" (Press release). 

External links[edit]