The U.S. Navy has exercised contract options funding the construction of the eighth and ninth Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), as part of a ten-ship program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion. The construction contract for these vessels is valued at approximately US$321.7 million.
Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella commented “The Navy’s growing confidence in Austal and the JHSV program becomes more evident with each new contract award. Austal will continue to reward our customer with improved efficiency evidenced in our continued on-time delivery of high-quality, affordable ships.”
As prime contractor, Austal was awarded the construction contract for the first 103-meter JHSV in November 2008, with options for nine additional vessels 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 authorization from the Navy to start construction on the first vessel of the contract, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), in December 2009 after completing the rigorous design in a 12-month period. USNS Spearhead is scheduled for builder’s sea trials in early March. Choctaw County (JHSV 2) is taking shape in Austal’s final assembly bay and modules for JHSV 3 are being constructed in the Module Manufacturing Facility; official keel laying is scheduled for April 12.
Austal USA employs over 2,600 highly qualified shipbuilders, engineers and support staff and is steadily growing towards 4,000 employees. Austal also recently christened a second Independence-variant 127-meter Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, Coronado (LCS 4), which is preparing for builder’s trials. As prime contractor, Austal received a U.S. Navy contract for construction of up to an additional 10 Littoral Combat Ships, including Jackson (LCS 6) and Montgomery (LCS 8), to be appropriated in the following five years, with a total value in excess of $3.5 billion. Once commissioned, these 10 ships will join the Austal-built USS Independence (LCS 2) which was commissioned in January 2010.
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