ASB: Australian Stock Exchange
LAST A$2.57 AUD
CHANGE TODAY -2.28%
Snapshot of Austal Ltd. (ASB):
The Navy would buy 15 of these ships through 2015, down from 29 in its plan of a year ago, and trim spending overall by 4.5 percent, according to an unreleased budget document. That’s the goal set by top Defense Department officials.
Lockheed and General Dynamics are the prime contractors for the new Littoral Combat Ship. Each has a contract to build two and would have to compete for contracts for the next 15...
The ships are designed for mine clearance, submarine hunting, humanitarian relief, and other missions in shallow coastal waters called littorals. They have a draft of no more than 20 feet, enabling them to operate close to coasts in the Persian Gulf, Korean peninsula and elsewhere...
The Navy would trim about $25 billion through 2015 by deferring or canceling weapons programs, including a total of about $18 billion in its shipbuilding account, which includes the littoral ship...
The Navy plan also would cut through 2015:
-- Two of 11 planned high-speed [JHSV], shallow-draft troop and cargo vessels managed by the Navy to transport Army and Marine Corps units and helicopters. Austal-USA is building the vessels in Mobile, Alabama.
[A good guess is those Two JHSV's they no longer will be building are A-615 and A-616. I'd say it's a sure thing they will be retrofitted and "painted gray."]
OFFICIALS investigating the Superferry 9 sinking are today addressing the possibility that the ro-pax’s crew failed to seal the side entrance before it sank in the Philippines. This entrance, positioned on the lower portion of the ship, should always be closed because it is the closest to the water, said the Board of Marine Inquiry, which is seeking to question workers at the last port where the ferry called before sailing. If the crew failed to seal that entrance tightly, the entrance would have been exposed to water ingress when the ro-pax listed by 25 degrees, said Alejandro Flora, BMI panel member and Coast Guard vice commandant. The board moved to the side-door theory after the master and crew testified that the 7,268gt ship’s cargo of containers and vehicles had been properly lashed and secured. Still, cargo movement is thought by investigators to have contributed to the sinking when the ship listed. Superferry 9 sank off the Zamboanga Peninsula on 6 September; 10 people were killed.
...We long have believed that the Superferry was operating with flawed business assumptions. Putting aside state officials’ blunder in reasoning that the Superferry didn’t need an environmental assessment, we are not convinced that there was enough passenger, vehicle and freight revenue to cover the cost of running two big ships.
In its brief time in service, the ferry showed it was unreliable and that the trip to Maui produced a nightmare of seasickness. Small businesses found it still made more sense to put their goods on a barge than to commit a driver and truck to an all-day run to or from Oahu.
Marching and marauding politicians and businesspeople can’t overcome a bad business plan or flawed legal advice. Lingle’s shots were off the mark and unrealistic.
USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750)
|Builder:||Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Pascagoula, Mississippi|
|Laid down:||March 29, 2005|
|Launched:||September 29, 2006|
|Christened:||November 11, 2006|
|Commissioned:||August 4, 2008|
|Motto:||"Legends Begin Here"|
|Type:||National Security Cutter|
|Propulsion:||Combined diesel and gas|
|Complement:||113 (14 Officers)|
|Sensors and |
|EADS 3D TRS-16 Air Search Radar |
SPQ-9B Fire Control Radar
AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar
|Electronic warfare |
|AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System|
|Armament:||57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System |
Close-In Weapons System
2 SRBOC/ 2 NULKA countermeasures chaff/rapid decoy launcher
4 50 Caliber Machine Guns
2 M240B 7.62mm Light Machine Guns
|Aircraft carried:||(2) MH-65C Dolphin MCH, or (4) VUAV or (1) MH-65C Dolphin MCH and (2) VUAV|
|Aviation facilities:||50x80 foot flight deck, hangar for all aircraft|
Littoral Combat Ship Down Select Announced
The Navy announced today it will down select between the two Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) designs in fiscal 2010. The current LCS seaframe construction solicitation will be cancelled and a new solicitation will be issued. At down select, a single prime contractor and shipyard will be awarded a fixed price incentive contract for up to 10 ships with two ships in fiscal 2010 and options through fiscal 2014. This decision was reached after careful review of the fiscal 2010 industry bids, consideration of total program costs, and ongoing discussions with Congress.
“This change to increase competition is required so we can build the LCS at an affordable price,” said Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy. “LCS is vital to our Navy’s future. It must succeed.”
“Both ships meet our operational requirements and we need LCS now to meet the warfighters’ needs,” said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. “Down selecting now will improve affordability and will allow us to build LCS at a realistic cost and not compromise critical warfighting capabilities.”
The Navy cancelled the solicitation to procure up to three LCS Flight 0+ ships in fiscal 2010 due to affordability. Based on proposals received this summer, it was not possible to execute the LCS program under the current acquisition strategy and given the expectation of constrained budgets. The new LCS acquisition strategy improves affordability by competitively awarding a larger number of ships across several years to one source. The Navy will accomplish this goal by issuing a new fixed price incentive solicitation for a down select to one of the two designs beginning in fiscal 2010.
Both industry teams will have the opportunity to submit proposals for the fiscal 2010 ships under the new solicitation. The selected industry team will deliver a quality technical data package, allowing the Navy to open competition for a second source for the selected design beginning in fiscal 2012. The winner of the down select will be awarded a contract for up to 10 ships from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2014, and also provide combat systems for up to five additional ships provided by a second source. Delivery of LCS 2, along with construction of LCS 3 and LCS 4 will not be affected by the decision. This plan ensures the best value for the Navy, continues to fill critical warfighting gaps, reduces program ownership costs, and meets the spirit and intent of the Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act of 2009.
LCS is a fast, agile and modular warship designed to complement the Navy’s multi-mission platforms with warfighting capabilities from littoral irregular warfare to mine, anti-submarine and surface warfare. There are two different LCS hull forms: a semi-planing monohull and an aluminum trimaran. The seaframes are designed and built by two industry teams led by Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. Of the planned 55-ship program, LCS 1 is commissioned, LCS 2 is undergoing sea trials, and construction has started for LCS 3 and LCS 4.
The Navy remains committed to the LCS program and the requirement for 55 of these ships to provide combatant commanders with the capability to defeat anti-access threats in the littorals, including fast surface craft, quiet submarines and various types of mines. The Navy’s acquisition strategy will be guided by cost and performance of the respective designs as well as options for sustaining competition throughout the life of the program.
For additional information contact the Navy News Desk at (703) 697-5342.
Last month this column reported on three major grant programs by the U.S. government to encourage smaller shipyards to increase productivity and efficiency.
The $60 million grant program to 19 states to build or rehabilitate ferries and their supporting land infrastructure seemed “right on the money.” So did the $17.1 million from the Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded to 14 shipyards in 10 states. Both these awards were made in early July.
On July 14, the big money awards were announced totaling $100 million. These awards went to 67 shipyards from the economic stimulus bill. No sooner than they were announced, they were canceled; the secretary of transportation calling the method used to determine the awards as “incomplete.”
A month and two days later the awards were reissued adding six shipyards to the total, canceling three awards and adjusting the amounts on two others.
These awards and those made with the $17.1 million grants were for the basic shipyard building blocks — welding equipment, press brakes, cranes, painting systems, dry docks and other such things...
...Others which received at least $2 million included:
• Pacific Shipyard International, Honolulu, Hawaii, $3.9 million
• Atlantic Marine, Jacksonville, Fla., Philadelphia and Boston, $2.6 million
• BAE Systems, San Diego and San Francisco, Calif., $2.2 million
WASHINGTON -- The Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to chop funding for the littoral combat ship program next year while giving the Navy $1.7 billion for a destroyer that it didn't request under a defense spending bill approved Thursday.
The bill, approved by the committee Thursday on a 30-0 vote, would give the Pentagon about $1.1 billion to order two littoral combat ships--instead of the three requested by Navy brass-- in fiscal 2010, which begins next month. The bill must still be approved by the full Senate and then reconciled with a House measure that furnishes enough money for four LCS buys next year...While cutting the LCS program, the appropriations committee, which includes Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa., and Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Oxford...
Gov. Linda Lingle told a group of Native Hawaiian business leaders on Maui that the lack of support by the business community and “pathetic” political leadership contributed to the demise of the Hawaii Superferry.
“I think there are few episodes that have been as pathetic in the lack of political leadership as there were in that Superferry situation,” Lingle told the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce meeting on Friday.
“I know that in my opinion, the majority of people support the Superferry – certainly the business community did – but they weren’t very clear about it. They weren’t very vocal about it. They didn’t really put too much effort. They certainly didn’t put much effort as those who were against.”
Facing a series of adverse court rulings that curtailed and then halted its operation between Oahu and Maui, the Hawaii Superferry stopped sailing in March and later declared bankruptcy. Various courts found that the Lingle administration and the Legislature had circumvented a state law requiring an extensive environmental review before the Superferry was allowed to operate.
In a 35-minute speech to the Maui group, the Republican governor didn’t dwell on the Superferry but used it as an example of how groups tend to coalesce around efforts to oppose projects or initiatives, but rarely offer alternatives.
“The Superferry decision and the lack of support that we received from the business community and the political leaders of Maui had consequences. Everybody knew what they were against. Everybody was quick to talk about the process that wasn’t followed, and that we should have followed a different process, in their opinion. They drafted laws to tie our hands, and to make it difficult for the Superferry to survive
“There were consequences for the political leadership here not stepping up and coming out strong and saying, ‘We need this. If there were steps that weren’t followed, let’s get that handled; but we’re for this alternative for our people.’ ”
With projects like a proposed telescope for Haleakala, an undersea cable to bring power to Oahu from Molokai and Lanai and various windfarms and wave-energy plans for Maui, Lingle urged business leaders and citizens to consider the long-term consequences of opposition...
A video of Lingle’s speech can be found at www.hawaii.gov/gov
MarineLog, September 8, 2009 Credit above photo: MarineLog
Engines installed in next-generation Austal trimaran
Austal's next-generation 102 m next generation high speed trimaran is moving steadily towards its February 2010 completion at the company's Western Australian shipyard...
It is currently available for purchase.
|'The unique three-engine layout of Austal’s next generation trimaran' Credit above art: Austal|
LONDON - The Britishers have designed a ‘James Bond’ style Navy interceptor, which at 100 mph (miles per hour), is the fastest boat ever built and is set to take to the water in the battle against pirates and drug smugglers.
According to a report in the Telegraph, the XSR military interceptor travels at almost 100mph, carries a retractable .50 calibre machine gun hidden under the deck and would not look out of place in a ‘007′ film.
With a maximum speed of 85 knots (97mph) and carrying the heavy machine gun, the boat will be able to overhaul “go-fast” drug smuggling boats in the Caribbean and pirate ships off the coast of Somalia.
Hailed as the world’s “most advanced performance and pursuit” vessel, the XSR will allow navies to deploy special forces on enemy shores, anti-piracy and smuggling patrols, protecting oil platforms and to intercept unidentified vessels in potential terror attacks.
When the XSR comes within range of an enemy ship, the machine gun emerges from the forward hull and is trained on the target using a remote controlled system from the cockpit.
In an era where countries like Iran use the “swarm” tactic of multiple fast boats attacking a single big target, the XSR can operate as a counter to the threat.
The XSR, which has done 30,000 nautical miles of testing, can be launched and recovered from a warship and the basic cost is estimated at 1.5 million pounds.
The makers, XSMG World, said they had created “a truly unique vessel that redefines the operational boundaries of high speed intercept, pursuit and patrol in coastal waters.”
“The XSR is the most advanced product technically in its class by a significant margin,” they added.
The composite hull, that includes Kevlar armour, gives increased strength with a lighter weight and the crew sits in “shock mitigation” seats.
In addition to the main machine gun, other weapons can be mounted in the rear cockpit and the boat comes equipped with a small galley, fridge and stretcher positions.
The larger version has four bunks, can carry up to 12 additional passengers and has a range of 1,000 nautical miles.
The XSR has a “revolutionary” stabilisation system - Transverse Roll Attenuation and Stabilisation Equipment - which is said to offer “exceptional control in high-speed turns” and greater stability in extreme weather conditions.
Inflatable tubes absorb the heavy impact of high speed on the hull and the stability allows for greater accuracy for the weapons.