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Austal commences fabrication of JHSV3

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'USNS Spearhead' the first of 10 US Navy Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV). Photo: Austal

WASHINGTON (BNS): Fabrication work has started for the third Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV 3), one of seven Austal-designed 103 metre US Navy JHSV under contract with the US Department of Defence.

Austal was selected as prime contractor in November 2008 to design and build the first JHSV, with options for nine additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13 as part of a program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion.

First District Congressman Jo Bonner (R-AL) commemorated the official start of fabrication for JHSV 3 on Monday.

As the US Department of Defence's next generation multi-use platform, the 103-metre JHSV will provide rapid intra-theater deployment/transportation of personnel, equipment and supplies. The vessel will support military logistics, sustainment and humanitarian relief operations at speeds of up to 43 knots.

The JHSV will transport medium-size operational units with their vehicles, or reconfigure to provide troop transport for an infantry battalion, allowing units to transit long distances while maintaining unit integrity.

The vessel also supports helicopter operations and has a slewing vehicle ramp on the starboard quarter which enables use of austere piers and quay walls, common in developing countries. A shallow draft (under 4 metres) will further enhance theater port access.

Austal is also currently preparing to launch a second Independence-variant 127-metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class vessel for the US Navy, Coronado (LCS 4). USS Independence (LCS 2) is currently being put through trials by her crew.

As prime contractor for the next LCS 10-ship contract, awarded by the US Navy at the end of 2010, Austal has also begun work on the first ship of that contract, Jackson (LCS 6), with Montgomery (LCS 8) under contract.

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Austal  US Navy   JHSV 3  
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