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Austal to build two more JHSVs for US DoD

An artistic representation of USNS Vigilant joint high speed vessel (JHSV) on sea. Photo: Austal USA

ALABAMA (BNS): US Department of Defense has selected Austal to build fourth and fifth vessels of the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).

Under the US $1.6 billion contract, Austal will build two 103-metre vessels in Mobile, Alabama.

“The full award for the fourth and fifth JHSV’s further demonstrates the Navy’s commitment to the programme and their confidence in our performance. I am proud of our shipbuilding team and look forward to the continued success of this programme," Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella said.

In November 2008, Austal was awarded first 103-metre JHSV contract, with options for nine additional vessels expected to be exercised between financial year 2009 and 2013.

Later, Austal received authorisation from the US Navy in December 2009, to start construction on the first US Army vessel, Spearhead (JHSV 1), after completing the rigorous design in a 12-month period. The vessel is scheduled to be launch in June 2011 and will be handed over to Navy in December 2011.

Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility has already begun the construction of the first US Navy vessel on Vigilant (JHSV 2) on September 13, 2010.

The vehicle is similar to the Austal-built “WestPac Express” operated by the US Marine Corps for the past nine years, but with the addition of a flight deck for helos and a slewing vehicle ramp on the starboard quarter which enables use of austere piers and quay walls, common in developing countries.

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 will also be capable of supporting humanitarian relief efforts, operating in shallow waters (under 4 metres) which will further enhance theater port access and reaching speeds in excess of 35 knots fully loaded. The Joint High Speed Vessels will be a joint-use platform operated by both the United States Army and Navy.


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