When it comes to defence force technology, Australia continues to be underrated as a leader on the global stage despite the United States Navy ordering their 15th vessel from Australian manufacturer Austal (ASX: ASB).
The contract awarded is valued around USD$235m (AUD $295m) and will be the 15th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) vessel to be delivered by Austal to the US Navy since 2012 as the shipbuilder continues its accession up the ranks of Australia’s manufacturing industry.
“The EPF has become a real success story, delivering a fast, flexible and versatile capability to the US Navy,” said Austal CEO, Paddy Gregg.
“The EPF has made a real difference to military operations and other humanitarian and disaster relief missions over many years now, and this additional vessel contract reflects the continuing confidence in the unique high-speed platform.”
Designed to seat more than 300 troops, the 103-metre high-speed catamaran will provide tactical transport for Navy commanders which can be deployed across a variety of Navy operations.
“This latest EPF will expand the medical facilities available on-board, further enhancing the proven operational capabilities of the ship, which has been used for various medical missions in the Pacific, South East Asia and Western Africa,” said Gregg.
This order from the US Navy validates the design and delivery of 12 previously delivered EPFs from Austal which currently has the 13th under construction and 14th to commence in the coming months at Austal USA’s facility in Mobile, Alabama.
As Australia’s largest defence exporter, Austal has been contracted for more than 300 vessels across 54 countries worldwide offering design, construction and maintenance services for the world’s most advanced ships.
For the Half-Year ending 31 December 2020, Austal reported $840m in revenue which was a 19% decline from the previous corresponding period (impacted by COVID-19). However, net profit improved 29% to $52.4m with shareholders rewarded by a 4c unfranked dividend.
ASB shares responded well to news of the 15th EPF ordered by the US Navy for shares to open at $2.47 which represented a 4.2% increase on their previous $2.37 close.
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