Port Security Conference

May 20, 2003


Austal releases details on military design Australia's Austal Ships has released details of one of its advanced military platforms, the Austal High Speed Vessel ­ Multipurpose (HSV­M).
The HSV­M is a high speed catamaran with semi-SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) hulls and bulbous bows. The vessel's layout features one vehicle deck with stern and side ramps; main deck level with helicopter deck and hanger, accommodation and work spaces; and the bridge deck. The design is based on the Austal's proven 101 m catamaran platform which has succeeded in both commercial and military roles, including the Theater Support Vessel "WestPac Express" currently operating with the U.S. Marine Corps.

  • Length overall (approx):102 m (335 feet)
  • Length, waterline (approx):87 m (286 feet)
  • Beam (approx):27 m (89 feet)
  • Draft (approx):4 m (13 feet) including T-foils
  • Deadweight (approx):850 metric tonnes (932 short tons)
  • Main engines:4 x medium speed diesels; 9,000kW (12,000 hp) each
  • Propulsion:4 x steerable waterjets
  • Motion control:Forward T foils and interceptor stators aft on each hull
  • Fuel (approx):approximately 575,000 liters (152,000 US gallons)
  • Helicopter fuel (approx):75,000 liters (20,000 US gallons)
  • Fresh water (approx):13,250 liters (3,500 US gallons)
  • Performance (All speeds at 90% of the engines' maximum continuous rating and with ride control fitted.)

  • Speed 38+ knots in Sea State 3 carrying 450 metric tonnes (500 short tons) payload (including crew) and fuel for 1,100 nautical miles.
  • 36+ knots in Sea State 3 carrying 645 metric tonnes (710 short tons) payload (including crew) and fuel for 500 nautical miles.
  • 37+ knots in Sea State 3 carrying 560 metric tonnes (620 short tons) payload (including crew) and fuel for 1,100 nautical miles.
  • Range:4,000+ nautical miles at 20 knots with 10% fuel reserve

Though based on Austal's proven fast ferry design and construction technology, the Austal HSV­M has been designed from the keel up to meet military requirements for a highly capable and multi-purpose platform. For example, the military vessel incorporates a significant increase in structural strength in the bow and tunnel areas, This allows the vessel to be operated at higher speeds in a given sea state without compromising its safety or structural reliability. Although this increases lightship displacement, it is a reflection of good design and prudent structural engineering. It results in a vessel that remains fast, reliable and strong throughout its life and in all sea conditions rather than an extremely light vessel that achieves higher calm water speeds, but is less capable of withstanding the rigors of a demanding operational profile including regular long-distance re-positioning voyages.

The HSV-M can undertake a variety of roles with a high degree of interoperability, both with other vessels and port infrastructures.

Possible roles for the Austal HSV­M include: Support of amphibious assault operations using small boats and amphibious vehicles; High speed deployment of troops and military hardware including tanks; Deployment and support of helicopters for reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, vertical replenishment, special warfare support, airborne mine countermeasures and other military activities; Co-ordination and command of other military vessels; and Disaster and humanitarian relief operations including the provision of supplies and evacuation of personnel and equipment.

To ensure these capabilities are delivered in a cost-effective manner the Austal HSV­M would be produced to commercial construction standards and outfitted with commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment wherever possible.

Propelled by four steerable waterjets that deliver extreme maneuverability, and powered by four fuel efficient medium speed diesel engines, the Austal HSV­M can sustain speeds in excess of 38 knots in Sea State 3 when loaded with 450 tonnes of troops and equipment and carrying sufficient fuel for a range of 1,100 nautical miles. It has a range of over 4,000 nautical miles at an average speed of 20 knots. To ensure that exhaust emissions will not interfere with helicopter or small boat operations taking place at low speed, Austal has specified an exhaust system exiting into the tunnel area between the hulls and thus well away from the helicopter deck. A water curtain in the tunnel can be used to create a physical barrier, thus preventing excessive exhaust fumes accumulating on the open aft deck at low speed when launching and recovering small boats and underwater and surface vehicles. Vehicle and cargo capacity

The HSV­M's layout features one vehicle deck with stern and side ramps; main deck level with helicopter deck and hanger, accommodation and work spaces; and the bridge deck.

The vehicle deck provides over 1,765 square meters of useable space and can carry a range of military hardware including M1 Abrams (M1A1) Main Battle Tanks, High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV), LARC and AAV amphibious vehicles, and semi-trailers. Helicopters and cargo can also be transported on the vehicle deck.

Stern and side ramps allow for rapid and efficient loading and offloading of vehicles even in rudimentary ports and the amphibious vehicles can be launched and retrieved directly to and from the water via the stern ramp. Boats up to 11 m in length and a variety of unmanned underwater and surface vehicles can be carried on the vehicle deck and launched and retrieved in up to Sea State 3.

The Austal HSV­M has been configured to carry and support a detachment of two multi-mission military helicopters such as the Sikorsky MH-60S. These can be stored and maintained in a weather-tight hanger space on the upper deck.

In addition to the MH-60S aircraft, the helo deck enables the HSV­M to operate with military helicopters including twin rotor medium lift assault helicopters and the latest attack helicopters.

This unique design provides permanent berthing for 100 ship's personnel, including toilet and shower facilities on the upper deck. In addition, 250 business class quality reclining seats with armrests and tray tables are fitted forward for troops or survivors/evacuees. Part of this area can be quickly and easily re-configured to provide berthing space for 100 personnel. This allows the vessel to operate with a variety of manning profiles, depending on operational requirements, including 200 berthed personnel or 100 berthed and 250 seated personnel.

With its eyes firmly on the U.S. market for large military vessels, Austal is also increasing capacity at Austal USA, its modern shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. Established over two years ago, the US shipyard currently has a 110 metre by 28 metre assembly hall, with a second facility on the way. The yard has already successfully built three high-speed and one medium-speed aluminium vessels and has another two under construction. This has resulted in a very significant transfer of leading edge production skills and technology from Australia to Austal USA.

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