US Military Signs New Charter for Austal High Speed Vessel

The Austal designed, built and sup­port­ed high speed ves­sel “West­Pac Express” has been re-char­tered for use by the Unit­ed States Marine Corps, con­tin­u­ing a suc­cess sto­ry that began over 10 years ago.

Click to enlarge

Com­menc­ing as a direct con­tin­u­a­tion of the ship’s cur­rent char­ter, the new con­tract with the Unit­ed States Navy’s Mil­i­tary Sealift Com­mand (MSC) will start in Feb­ru­ary 2012 and last between six and 24 months. The con­tract is val­ued at approx­i­mate­ly US$30.3 mil­lion if all options are exercised. 

The char­ter will see the 101 metre, US-flagged cata­ma­ran con­tin­u­ing to trans­port troops and equip­ment from the Marine Corps’ Third Marine Expe­di­tionary Force (III MEF). It is base port­ed in Oki­nawa, Japan where the III MEF is based, and oper­ates through­out the West­ern Pacific. 

Austal Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, Andrew Bel­lamy, said the char­ter reflect­ed the abil­i­ty of Austal to pro­vide high­ly suc­cess­ful long-term, inte­grat­ed ship and sup­port solu­tions to mil­i­tary requirements. 

“The ship has been meet­ing the Marine Corps’ logis­tics require­ments for over a decade, and doing so with vir­tu­al­ly 100 per cent reli­a­bil­i­ty, reflect­ing the qual­i­ty of both the ship and the in ser­vice sup­port we have sup­plied over the same peri­od,” he said. 

“The ship’s suc­cess was a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in us becom­ing prime con­trac­tor for the US Navy’s Joint High Speed Ves­sel and Lit­toral Com­bat Ship pro­grams, and indeed demon­strates the val­ue these new class­es of ship will bring to the US Navy. 

“The fact that we have helped “West­Pac Express” to main­tain exem­plary per­for­mance since deliv­ery demon­strates our abil­i­ty to pro­vide effec­tive sup­port ser­vices to the JHSV and LCS fleets in the future, which is part of our strat­e­gy to devel­op the sup­port part of our busi­ness.” Austal recent­ly launched the first of sev­en JHSVs it has been con­tract­ed to build, and is prepar­ing to the launch the sec­ond of four con­tract­ed LCSs, the first of which was deliv­ered in Decem­ber 2009. Con­tract options for a fur­ther three JHSVs and eight LCS are still to be exer­cised by the US Navy. 

Orig­i­nal­ly described as a The­atre Sup­port Ves­sel (TSV), “West­Pac Express” was first char­tered to the III MEF in July 2001 for a “proof of con­cept” peri­od. This was the first time the US mil­i­tary had con­tract­ed a com­mer­cial ves­sel of this type for mil­i­tary sup­port. This char­ter was so suc­cess­ful that, after com­pet­i­tive ten­ders, the MSC signed a three year char­ter in Jan­u­ary 2002 which was sub­se­quent­ly extend­ed to Feb­ru­ary 2007. In 2005, MSC again sought com­pet­i­tive ten­ders for a new char­ter of up to 55 months and, after strong inter­na­tion­al com­pe­ti­tion from oth­er high speed ves­sel designs, “West­Pac Express” once more proved to offer the best val­ue, com­mer­cial­ly and tech­ni­cal­ly. That char­ter was sub­se­quent­ly extend­ed to Feb­ru­ary 2012. The new char­ter was award­ed after a sim­i­lar com­pet­i­tive ten­der­ing process. 

Includ­ed in the ship’s many achieve­ments over the years was its sup­port of human­i­tar­i­an relief oper­a­tions fol­low­ing the Japan­ese earth­quake and tsuna­mi ear­li­er this year. As part of Oper­a­tion Tomodachi, “West­Pac Express” deliv­ered a For­ward Arm­ing and Refu­el­ing Point for use in the assis­tance oper­a­tions. This enabled air­craft to con­duct con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tions with­out hav­ing to return to an estab­lished air­port to obtain fuel, mean­ing heli­copters could fly res­cue and trans­port mis­sions almost non-stop. The high speed cata­ma­ran also trans­port­ed oth­er sup­plies, com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment and per­son­nel used in the relief operations. 

In recog­ni­tion of this ser­vice MSC Admi­ral Buz­by pre­sent­ed the ship’s crew with Unit­ed States Mer­chant Marine Medals for Out­stand­ing Achieve­ment at a cer­e­mo­ny on board the ship in Yoko­hama, Japan 

Fur­ther Infor­ma­tion
Phone: 61 8 9410 1111
Fax: 61 8 9410 2564


Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →