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US Navy awards Austal 92 million Contract for LCU 1700-class.

| 2023

On September 7, 2023, Austal USA was awarded a $91,535,551 firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Navy to design and construct three Landing Craft Utility (LCU) 1700-class vessels. The contract also includes options for nine vessels additional and associated support efforts.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001Artist rendering of the future LCU 1700 class, designed to replace the older LCU 1650 class. (Picture source: Swiftships)

The LCU 1700 class is designed to replace the older LCU 1650 class, with modernized and improved systems. These vessels feature a roll-on/roll-off configuration with hydraulically controlled bow and stern ramps.

This allows them to establish a causeway or bridge to access very shallow, undeveloped landing areas. 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.

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.

Austal USA continues to diversify its product line, with production underway for two Navy Towing, Rescue, and Relief (T-ATS) vessels and the 90,800 square-foot Navy Auxiliary Floating Refit (AFDM).

The company also holds multi-ship contracts for the Navy's TAGOS-25 ocean surveillance vessel and the U.S. Coast Guard's Heritage-class offshore patrol boat 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.

Due to various challenges faced by Swiftships, including labor issues Due to labor and material availability, the Navy introduced Austal USA as a second source for the construction of the LCU-1700.

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