Austal USA christens JHSV

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Ship's sponsor, Alma Booterbaugh, breaks the traditional bottle of bubbly to name the vessel

MAY 9, 2015 — Shipbuilder Austal USA christened USNS Brunswick (JHSV 6) today in a ceremony at its Mobile, AL, shipyard.

USNS Brunswick is the sixth of ten Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) that Austal is building for the U.S. Navy as part of an overall 10-ship block-buy contract worth over $1.6 billion.

The 338 ft shallow draft aluminum catamaran, is a multi-mission, non-combatant transport vessel characterized by its high volume, high speed, and flexibility.

The ship is the fourth to be named Brunswick after the seaport city located on the southeast coast of Georgia. The city of Brunswick played an important role during World War II as the site of the 435-acre J.A. Jones Construction Company shipyard that employed up to 16,000 workers at its peak. The yard completed ninety-nine cargo ships, of which eighty-five were Liberty ships, by the end of the war.

Craig Perciavalle, president of Austal USA, said that USNS Brunswick is the result of the successful industry/DOD partnership that has developed between Austal USA, Military Sealift Command, and the Navy. “We’re very excited about how stable and mature the JHSV program has become as we prepare JHSV 6 for trials and delivery in the fall.”

USNS Brunswick will soon join her sister JHSVs that have been delivered over the last two-and-a-half years including USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) which is deep into her second deployment since she was delivered in 2012.

“The fast-growing JHSV fleet has proven to be flexible in ways we didn’t even consider when this program first started,” said Mr. Perciavalle, “Without the dedication and pride of the hard-working individuals that make up Austal’s awesome shipbuilding team, this program wouldn’t be experiencing the success we’re celebrating today.”

The ship’s sponsor, Alma Booterbaugh, joined the immediate office of the Secretary of the Navy in 1999 and she is currently the Office Manager and Scheduler for the Secretary of the Navy. Ms. Booterbaugh has been a civil servant for over 30 years with the Federal Government and is the recipient of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award and three Navy Superior Civilian Service Awards. Booterbaugh was joined on stage today by her daughter, USNS Brunswick’s Maid of Honor, Brittany Booterbaugh.

More than 300 naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees attended the ceremony held beneath the hull of Brunswick in the Austal final assembly bay.

Three JHSVs and seven Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are currently under construction in Austal’s Mobile, Ala. shipyard. The company is scheduled to launch JHSV 6 before the end of the month, while the future USS Jackson (LCS 6) prepares for its acceptance sea trials later this summer.

For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Mission Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. For the JHSV program, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the navigation and communication systems, C4I and aviation systems.

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