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November 12, 2008

Austal wins JHSV contract

The Navy has decided to award the Joint High Speed Vessel contract to Austal USA.

The award wasn't included in today's Pentagon contract announcements, but U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, has issued a statement saying that he "applauds the Navy's decision to award the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) contract to Austal USA, located in Mobile, Alabama."

"I am pleased that the Navy continues to recognize Austal's tremendous shipbuilding capabilities," said Shelby. "This $1.6 billion award for ten vessels is a testament to Alabama's stellar workforce. This award enhances south Alabama's defense community and complements our state's service to our armed forces."

Whether Austal has, in fact, been awarded ten ships in one contract will become clear when the Pentagon makes its announcement. Austal was one of three bidders awarded a Phase I contract in January 2008 and submitted its Phase II Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) proposal to the Navy at the end of July. At that time it said it was expected that a single Phase II contract would be awarded later this year for detail design and construction of the lead JHSV with options to build up to ten ships.

The Austal JHSV Team offered what it called "a low risk, proven technology solution combining the expertise of Austal USA, Austal Ships (Australia) and General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS)."

The JHSV is a joint Navy-Army program for a high-speed, shallow draft vessel intended for rapid intra-theater transport of cargo. It reaches speeds up to 45 knots and allows for the rapid transit and deployment of troops as well as equipment and supplies. The JHSV will include a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. It will transport Army and Marine Corps company-sized units with their vehicles, or be a troop transport for an infantry battalion.

The Navy's current acquisition plan calls for building ten vessels between fiscal year 2010 and fiscal year 2015.


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