Austal has delivered the first Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), to the US Navy on 5 December.
The USNS Spearhead successfully completed Acceptance Trials in September and will sail away later this year.
The 103 metre (338 foot) long aluminium catamarans are designed to be fast, flexible and manoeuvrable even in shallow waters, making them ideal for transporting troops and equipment quickly within a theatre of operations.
The ship has the ability to support a variety of operations, including traditional logistics missions, humanitarian support projects, disaster response or by supporting maritime law enforcement activities.
Austal is currently under contract with the US Navy to build nine 103-metre JHSVs under a 10-ship, US$1.6 billion contract and five 127-metre Independence-variant LCS class ships, four of which are a part of a 10-ship, US$3.5 billion contract.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics.
As the ship systems integrator, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems including the combat system, networks, and seaframe control.
General Dynamics’ open architecture approach allows for affordable and efficient capability growth as technologies develop.
These two contracts will require Austal to increase its Mobile, Alabama workforce to approximately 4,000 employees in order to fulfil the contract requirements.
How did Austal fare in ADM’s Top 40 Defence Contractors list this year? Keep an eye out for the print magazine in early January 2013.