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Marine Log

February 1, 2008

Australian firms win JHSV preliminary design contracts

Two Australian groups have announced that they are among the three competitors to be awarded a Preliminary Design Contract for the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program for the U.S. Navy and Army.

The third winner of a preliminary design contract is Bath Iron Works, which is offering a Rolls-Royce NVC Design ship based on a steel monohull RoPax. (See separate story)

Meantime the Australian groups are Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd. and the associated Revolution Design Pty Ltd. which are part of a consortium led by Incat's United States partner, Bollinger Shipyards, and Austal, which says in a stock exchange announcement that the preliminary design award is worth US$3 million

Austal comments that the JHSV requirements and concept of operations are similar to those of the Austal built WestPac Express, which has been successfully serving the III Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan for more than six years.

Incat comments that the Incat built High Speed Vessels, HSV-X1 Joint Venture, TSV-1X Spearhead and HSV-2 Swift, have already been employed by the DoD for experimentation and demonstration of high speed vessel technologies as well as for logistics support. These craft have been used to support operations in the Global War on Terrorism and during Operation Iraqi Freedom. They have been deployed to the Horn of Africa, Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia.

Austal Executive Chairman, John Rothwell says that "as one of three companies down-selected for the Preliminary Design Contract, Austal has a strong chance of advancing to final selection given its large skilled workforce and world class facilities in Mobile, Alabama."

At the conclusion of the six-month JHSV Preliminary Design Contract, Austal will submit a proposal for the Detailed Design and Construction Contract. This contract will include the award of a construction contract for the first ship and options for a further seven ships set to be awarded between US FY09 and FY12.

If successful, the Austal JHSV program will be supported by the existing Austal labor force and facilities, and with the current facility expansion underway at Austal USA will allow the construction of a combination of JHSV and LCS platforms concurrently.

Austal USA CEO, Bob Browning said, "The JHSV design is right in the middle of the Austal breadth of experience. We are the only shipyard in the United States to have built a high speed aluminum ship larger than 100 m in length, and therefore feel justifiably confident that Austal is best placed to deliver a low risk JHSV platform to the US Army and Navy." Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd and Revolution Design Pty Ltd are pleased to announce they have been awarded one of three US multi-million dollar design contracts by the US Department of Defense.

Incat Chairman Robert Clifford says that "the Incat consortium is well placed to proceed to the next build contract phase thanks to its vast and successful experience providing three vessels for intensive U.S. military service."

The Incat 112 m, which forms the base of the consortium's submission, is the largest catamaran ever built in Australia. Already proven in commercial service it provides unparalled seakeeping and comfort even on rough open sea routes. Power is supplied by four diesel engines, each rated 9000 kW at 1,000 rpm and consuming <190g/kwh.

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