Navy Exercises Contract Options less than a Month after Start of Construction for JHSV 2
Austal received word today to move forward with the construction contract for the fourth and fifth vessels of the U.S. Department of Defense’s next generation multi-use platform, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), as part of a program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion. Austal received funding previously from the Navy, valued at US$99,557,548, to acquire long lead-time material, to include diesel engines, water jets and reduction gears, for these two vessels in June 2010. The additional work is valued at approximately US$204.6 million.
Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella remarked, “The full award for the fourth and fifth JHSV’s further demonstrates the Navy’s commitment to the program and their confidence in our performance. I am proud of our shipbuilding team and look forward to the continued success of this program.”
As Prime contractor, Austal was awarded the construction contract for the first 103-metre JHSV in November 2008, with options for nine additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13. The Austal JHSV team includes platform systems engineering agent General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems who is responsible for the design, integration and test of the ship’s mission systems, including internal and external communications, electronic navigation, and aviation and armament systems.
Austal received authorisation from the Navy to start construction on the first U.S. Army vessel of the contract, Spearhead (JHSV 1), in December 2009 after completing the rigorous design in a 12-month period. A formal Keel Laying Ceremony was held for Spearhead at Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard on July 22, 2010, and it is on schedule for launch in June 2011 and delivery in December 2011. Construction on Vigilant (JHSV 2), the first Navy vessel, began in Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility on September 13, 2010.
The JHSV is similar to the Austal-built “WestPac Express” operated by the U.S. 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.
Austal USA employs over 1,800 highly qualified shipbuilders, engineers and support staff. Austal is also currently building a second Independence-class 127-metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, Coronado (LCS 4). USS Independence (LCS 2) is currently being put through trials by her crew after the U.S. Navy officially took delivery in December 2009 and she was commissioned earlier this year in January 2010. As prime contractor, Austal has recently completed final proposal revisions for the next LCS 10-ship contract which should be competitively awarded by the U.S. Navy before the end of the year.