AUGUST 30, 2012 — "I consider it a major accomplishment to be authorized by the Navy to hang a broom from the mast, a Navy tradition representing a 'clean sweep' of trial events, after completing our first Acceptance Trials as prime contractor," said Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA Senior VP of Operations, after the Navy's first joint high speed vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), successfully completed acceptance trials in Mobile, Ala., earlier this month.
The Austal-built JHSV 1 is a versatile, non-combatant, transport ship that will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment.
The ship was presented to the Navy's independent Board of Inspection and Survey by the Program Executive Officer, Ships, for a complete and thorough material assessment, which included two days underway in the Gulf of Mexico. The acceptance trials evaluated the ship's major systems and equipment to include a four-hour, full power run and demonstrations of main propulsion engineering and ship control systems, anchoring, food service and crew support systems.
"JHSV 1 performed extremely well during these trials, a testament to the hard work and preparation by the Austal-Navy shipbuilding team," said JHSV Program Manager Capt. Henry Stevens. "Spearhead will be a valued asset to our fleet, and these trials highlight the revolutionary capabilities of the ship."
The JHSV is designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use. The vessel is capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. JHSV 1 will have airline style seating for 312 embarked forces, with fixed berthing for 104.
Acceptance trials are the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy, expected to occur later this year.
The trials are the last significant milestone before delivery of the ship to the Navy which is expected over the coming months.
Brian Leathers, Austal USA's Interim President and Chief Financial Officer commented "First-in-class ships are always a challenge but we are honored to have been able to present a complete, functional vessel to INSURV and are looking forward to the delivery of this first-in-class ship to the Navy soon. Austal is proud to have played such an integral role in U.S. Naval history by being selected to produce this new class of vessels to support America's national security needs."
USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) will soon be followed by Choctaw County (JHSV 2) which will be christened on September 15. Two more JHSVs are under construction at Austal's Mobile, Alabama shipyard. "Austal is eager to get these vessels out into the fleet doing the job they were built to do." Leathers said. "They will be a great addition to the mobility of the Navy Marine Corps team as we pivot to the Pacific Basin."
Austal is currently under contract with the U.S. Navy to build nine 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract and five 127-meter Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class vessels, four of which are a part of a 10-ship, $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.