Less than one year after beginning fabrication of Spearhead (JHSV 1), Austal has commenced construction on Vigilant (JHSV 2), the second of up to ten 103-m Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV). 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. Since then, Austal has received construction contracts for JHSV 1, JHSV 2, and JHSV 3 and Long Lead Time Material contracts for JHSV 4 and JHSV 5.
The 103-m 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.
"The start of JHSV 2 represents the first Navy/MSC ship and the start of serial production,” U.S. Navy Program Manager, Capt. George Sutton said. “Serial production is the key to program stability, affordability and efficiency for the shipbuilder and the taxpayer."
“Since the beginning of the year, Austal has added over 800 employees to our staff of shipbuilding professionals,” Austal USA President and Chief Operating Officer, Joe Rella, commented. “Our workforce is well positioned to start construction on this second JHSV.”
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 a slewing vehicle ramp on the starboard quarter which enables use of austere piers and quay walls, common in developing countries. A shallow draft (under 4 meters) will further enhance theater port access.
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.