The U.S. Navy has exercised contract options funding the construction sixth and seventh Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), as part of a ten-ship program potentially worth over $1.6b.The construction contract for both vessels is valued at approximately $313m. Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella cited the Mobile 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”
With options remaining for a further three vessels, the JHSV program is set deliver a predictable revenue stream of US$347.3 million (AUD$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.
Rella remarked, “this award would not have happened without the commitment of the entire Austal family. The JHSV will help our Alabama workforce grow from over 2,000 to near 4,000 employees, and we hope our high quality products keep the JHSV production line active for many years to come."
Austal USA employs over 2,100 highly qualified shipbuilders, engineers and support staff and is steadily growing towards 4,000 employees. Austal is also currently building a second Independence-variant 127-meter Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, Coronado (LCS 4), which 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. Once commissioned, these 10 ships will join the Austal-built USS Independence (LCS 2) which was commissioned in January 2010.