January 28, 2010
Navy exercises options for second and third JHSVs
Austal USA, Mobile Ala., is being awarded a $204,238,728 modification to a previously awarded Navyy contract (N00024-08-C-2217) to exercise options for Ships 2 and 3 of the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program. Work is expected to be completed by July 2012. The options exercised for for the second and third vessels are part of a program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion. Austal received funding from the Navy to acquire long lead-time materials, including diesel engines, water jets and reduction gears, for the two vessels in June 2009.
Austal USA's President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella remarked, "The Navy's decision to proceed with full construction of the second and third JHSVs will serve to underpin the momentum in our shipyard and support Austal USA's objective of driving greater efficiency and associated cost controls in its shipbuilding programs."
As Prime contractor, Austal was awarded the construction contract for the first 103-meter JHSV in November 2008, with options for nine additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13. Austal received authorization from the Navy to start construction on JHSV 1, in December 2009.
Austal is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems which will design, integrate, and test the ship's electronic systems, including an Open Architecture Computing Infrastructure, internal and external communications, electronic navigation, aviation, and armament systems.
The JHSV is similar to the Austal-built "WestPac Express" operated by the US Marines for the past nine years, but has a flight deck for helicopters.
The JHSV will be capable of transporting troops and their equipment, supporting humanitarian relief efforts, operating in shallow waters, 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 Army and Navy.
The vessels will be built at Austal's Mobile, Alabama, shipyard where the completion of the first phase of a new state-of-the-art Modular Manufacturing Facility (MMF) was recently celebrated with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in early November 2009. JHSV 1 is currently under construction in the first half of the 750,000 sq ft the facility. Austal USA's 1,000-strong workforce, which is currently constructing JHSV 1 and Coronado (LCS 4), will grow to more than 1,500 as a result of the JHSV program.