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July 22, 2010

Austal USA lays keel of JHSV-1

Just over six months after the official opening of its new Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF), Austal USA hosted a keel-laying ceremony today at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, to mark the erection of the first modules on the U.S. Department of Defense's next generation multi-use platform, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), a 10-ship program potentially worth over $1.6 billion.

Keel Laying is the formal recognition of the start of the ship's module erection process.

Today, the keel laying symbolically recognized the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the Spearhead (JHSV 1) for the U.S. Army vessel .

The name represents a major feature of the regimental insignia of the Transportation Corps.

Spearhead will be a 103 m aluminum catamaran capable of reaching speeds in excess of 35 knots fully loaded. It is the first of a class of 10 vessels to be operated by both the U.S. Army and Navy.

Austal USA is the prime contractor, responsible for designing and constructing the vessel.

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is the platform mission systems engineering agent responsible for the design, integration and test of the ship's mission systems, including internal and external communications, electronic navigation, and aviation and armament systems.

The ceremony was attended by officials from the Army and Navy, the State of Alabama, and City and County of Mobile.

Chief Warrant Officer Four Kenneth M. Wahlman, U.S. Army, Retired, authenticated the keel-laying event by welding his initials into the hull section with the assistance of Austal Fabricator, Kelvin Watkins.


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