Navy options two more Joint High Speed Vessels at Austal USA

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LCS2The U.S. Navy has exercised contract options valued at about $313 million to fund the construction sixth and seventh Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) at Austal USA, Mobile, Ala. If the Navy exercises additional options to build a total of 10 JHSVs, the total value of the program could be worth over $1.6 billion.

Austal USA’s President and COO Joe Rella cites the Mobile, Alabama, shipyard’s continuing growth as a key factor.  “Without the support and vision of our Australian headquarters, this facility would not have been able to offer the modern fabrication facilities that give the Navy the confidence to let us build the JHSV, a key contributor to the fleet of tomorrow”

Austal USA is now the largest aluminum shipbuilding facility in the world, employing over 2,100 skilled shipbuilders, engineers and support staff.

With options remaining for a further three vessels, the JHSV program is set deliver a predictable revenue stream of $347.3 million (AU$330 million) per year from 2012 to 2015.

As prime contractor, Austal was awarded the construction contract for the first 103-meter JHSV in November 2008, with options for nine additional vessels between FY09 and FY13. The Austal JHSV team includes platform systems engineering agent General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems who is 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.

Austal received authorization from the Navy to start construction on the first vessel of the contract, Spearhead (JHSV 1), in December 2009 after completing the rigorous design in a 12-month period. Spearhead is scheduled for launch in August 2011 and delivery in December 2011. Construction on Vigilant (JHSV 2), began in Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility on September 13, 2010.

According to Rella,  the JHSV program will help grow the Alabama shipyard’s workforce grow from its current more than 2,000 employees to close to 4,000.

Austal USA built the USS Independence (LCS 2), which was commissioned in January 2010. Thumbnail image shows Independence (LCS 2) during Fleet Week last year in Port Everglades, Florida.

Austal is also currently building a second Independence-variant 127-meter Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), Coronado (LCS 4), for the U.S. Navy. It is scheduled for launch in September 2011. As prime contractor, Austal recently received a U.S. Navy contract for construction of up to an additional 10 Littoral Combat Ships, including Jackson (LCS 6) and Montgomery (LCS 8), to be appropriated in the following five years, with a total value in excess of $3.5 billion.


June 30, 2011

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