Austal has received authorization from the U.S. Navy to commence construction on the first of up to ten 338-ft Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV).
After Austal successfully completed the Production Readiness Review (PRR) and necessary DoD approvals were obtained, the Navy authorized Austal’s Mobile, Ala. facility to immediately begin construction of Fortitude (JHSV 1).
As the US Department of Defense’s next generation multi-use platform, the JHSV will provide rapid intra-theater deployment/transportation of personnel, equipment and supplies. The vessel will support military logistics, sustainment and humanitarian relief operations and will be capable of speeds up to 43 knots.
Austal was selected as Prime contractor in November 2008 to design and build the first JHSV, with options for nine additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13.
Fortitude will be the first Austal design to be constructed using the new procedures and processes developed in conjunction with Austal’s recently-competed Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF). The MMF provides Austal with assembly line efficiency, resulting in significant cost savings and reduced lead times.
Austal USA President and Chief Operating Officer, Joe Rella, commented, “What makes this program destined for success is the high degree of maturity of the design, coupled with the module manufacturing process to be completed in our new facility. Our workforce is in place and ready to start construction.”
The Austal JHSV will transport medium-size operational units with their vehicles, or reconfigure to provide troop transport for an infantry battalion, allowing units to transit long distances while maintaining unit integrity. The vessel also supports helicopter operations and has an off-load vehicle ramp which enables use of austere piers and quay walls, common in developing countries. A shallow draft (under 13 ft) will further enhance theater port access.
The Austal JHSV team includes platform systems engineering agent General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, which is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems.
Austal USA is also currently building two 416.6 ft Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) for the US Navy, with the first, Independence (LCS 2), scheduled for completion by the end of the year.