New York: The US Navy said it has awarded contracts worth more than $8 billion to Lockheed Martin and Australia's Austal USA to build 20 coastal warships by 2015.
Each company will build 10 littoral combat ships, a Navy statement said.
Defence contractors Lockheed Martin Corp and Austal USA Llc received contracts to build 20 Littoral Combat Ships from the US Navy after receiving clearance from the US Congress. The approval to build a new class of warships was granted earlier this month.
The US Defense Department announced late Wednesday it had awarded Lockheed Martin a $491.6 million deal to construct one ship. If options for nine additional ships are exercised, the total contract would amount to $4.57 billion.
In a related award, ship designers and constructors, Austal Llc, also received a $465.5 million contract for one Littoral Combat Ship, which has a different design. The total contract will be worth $4.39 billion if options for nine other such ships are exercised.
The littoral combat ships are swift, agile warships designed to conduct water combat off enemy shores. The ships are designed for quick modification rather than a single purpose. They can be used to hunt submarines and pirate ships, defend ground troops and support unmanned aerial vehicles.