Austal Awarded Construction Contract for JHSV 4 and 5

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.


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