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Wis., Ala. shipbuilders get tentative federal money

Milwaukee (AP) — The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved spending $1.8 billion for four new warships from shipbuilders in Wisconsin and Alabama.

Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl said the Senate Defense Appropriations Bill for the next fiscal year contained $1.8 billion for the construction of four littoral combat ships. The committee approved the bill Thursday.

Kohl’s office said two of the ships would be built by Marinette Marine of Marinette, Wis., and the other two by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala.

The financing follows the U.S. Navy’s commitment to buy 20 of the advanced combat ships, 10 from each company.

Littoral combat ships can be used to defend ground troops and hunt submarines. They’re also designed for quick modification. For example, a ship’s anti-submarine package could be quickly swapped out for a mine-warfare package.

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