Austal submitted its final Phase II Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) submission to the US Navy this week following an extensive detailed design and review process. Austal was one of three bidders awarded a Phase I contract in January and it is anticipated that a single Phase II contract will be awarded in late 2008 for the construction of up to ten ships.
The Austal JHSV Team’s low risk, proven technology solution combines the expertise of Austal USA, Austal Ships (Australia) and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS). This team is able to provide proven design and construction experience of commercially based high speed vessels in the USA and the integration of military computing environments.
The JHSV program is a joint effort between the Army and Navy to acquire high-speed vessels for the two branches of the US military. JHSV will be used for fast intra-theatre transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment.
“Once delivered, the Joint High Speed Vessel will be a key component of the US military’s expeditionary warfare capability,” said Rear Admiral Charles Goddard, Program Executive Officer for Ships. “This high speed transport will carry soldiers or marines with their gear, to harbors that would normally be unusable by conventional maritime assets.”
Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard is unique in having the proven infrastructure and trained workforce in place to design, construct, deliver and service 100 metre+ high speed ships in the US. Austal USA recently launched the 127-metre trimaran LCS-2 “Independence” combat ship for the US Navy, and has under construction the second 107 metre Hawaii Superferry catamaran high speed vehicle-passenger ferry. In 2007 Austal USA delivered the first Hawaii Superferry “Alakai” for intra-island service in the Hawaiian islands.
Austal was recently awarded a new contract to provide additional features and equipment on the second Hawaii Superferry to facilitate its use by the military. This follows on from the long term charter, since 2001, of the Austal built 101 metre vehicle-passenger catamaran “WestPac Express” by the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) based on Okinawa, Japan. As an adapted commercial vessel “WestPac Express” has demonstrated the enormous flexibility, cost savings and efficiencies achievable by commercial fast ferry technology over conventional air or sea transport.
The ability to quickly reload and transport a wide variety of equipment and supplies across vast distances at high speed was demonstrated in the Asian Tsunami where “WestPac Express” rapidly delivered humanitarian assistance. This was aided by the shallow draft and manoeuvrability allowing unassisted access to damaged and unimproved ports close to the most badly damaged areas.