Washington – Trieste, May 4 2009. Fincantieri and the leading aerospace company Boeing have teamed up in a bid to capture the contract to build the new hovercraft fleet for the US Navy which will be awarded under the Sea Base-to-Shore Connector (SSC) program. The agreement was announced today in Washington on the occasion of the opening of the “Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition”, the world’s most important fair for the marine defense sector.
From an operational perspective the Italian shipbuilder will be involved through its American subsidiary, Marinette Marine Corporation, a member of Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG), which was set up by Fincantieri at the start of this year following its takeover of four shipyards located in the Great Lakes region. Boeing will be involved in the program through Boeing Rotorcraft Systems.
In the tender for the SSC program, which will be launched in 2010, Marinette Marine Corporation will take the role of prime contractor for the vessels, which would be built at its shipyards in Wisconsin, while Boeing Rotorcraft Systems will be responsible for propulsion and avionics. The two companies, by combining in one single system the expertise built up in their specific fields, aim to offer the US Navy cutting edge vessels of high technical reliability at relatively contained costs.
The ten-year SSC program provides for the construction of 80 hovercrafts, worth overall roughly 4 billion dollars, to replace the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), which was introduced by the US Navy between 1984 and 2001. Hybrid platforms similar to aeronautical craft, the vessels are sustained by an air cushion and propelled by one or more propellers. Capable of moving on a range of surfaces at high speed, over 40 knots, they are used by the military as landing craft for personnel and equipment from ships serving coastal areas.
“This year, during which we entered the US defense market with the purchase of American shipyards, –commented Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri – has already been marked by an important achievement: the awarding of an order to build a second ship in the LCS program, scheduled for construction at Marinette Marine shipyard”. Bono went on to add: “We are also keeping a close eye on further opportunities which are arising in the States, in a market which develops programs every year that are unrivalled in the world. I am confident that, also through alliances such as our teaming with Boeing, in the years to come we will succeed in gaining a leading position among the partners of the US Navy, providing products of high quality at highly competitive costs.”.
Fincantieri is one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups. It is world leader in the design and construction of cruise ships, reference operator in the sector of large ferries and boasts a substantial order book in the naval field. The company also works in the fields of mega yachts of over 70 meters, ship components, and ship repairs and conversions. Headquartered in Trieste, the company has a staff of over 10,500 and eight shipyards in Italy.
In the USA, following its recent purchase, the company works through its subsidiary, Fincantieri Marine Group (FMG). Serving both civilian and government customers, including the US Navy and Coast Guard, the company has four shipyards (Marinette Marine, Bay Shipbuilding, Cleveland Shiprepair, Ace Marine), all located in the region of the Great Lakes.
The Boeing Company is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Additionally, Boeing works in the field of defense and communication, offers network-centered solutions and space launches and manufactures rotorcraft, missiles, satellites and launch vehicles. Headquartered in Chicago, Boeing Group is one of America’s largest exporters in terms of turnover, with customers in 145 different nations. Its staff of 154,000 are employed in 70 countries.
Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS), to which Boeing Rotorcraft Systems belongs, is the second largest company in the world in the defense sector. Working for civilian and military customers, it develops a vast range of systems which integrate sophisticated communication networks with air, land, sea and space platforms.