(MOBILE, Ala.) — Austal USA announced Monday that it has received a $3.6 million contract for functional design work on the U.S. Navy’s Navajo-class towing, salvage and rescue (T-ATS) ships. It is the first award for the shipbuilder for the development of steel ships for the Navy.
Austal said it will “define detailed requirements to construct, test and deliver T-ATS ships in accordance with government ship specifications.” The 263-foot steel-hulled multi-mission vessels are scheduled to replace the retiring rescue and salvage ship (T-ARS 50) class and fleet ocean tug (T-ATF 166) class. The T-ATS class will support towing, salvage, rescue, oil spill response, humanitarian assistance and wide-area search and surveillance. T-ATS can also “embark containerized systems including cyber, electronic warfare, and decoy and surveillance packages,” according to Austal. The work will be performed in Mobile, Ala.
The Navy plans to order eight of the ships and has ordered five so far. The first ship in the series is the future USNS Navajo (T-ATS 6). Its keel was laid in 2019 at Gulf Island Shipyard in Houma, La., which is now owned by Bollinger Shipyards.