WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy awarded contract modifications to Austal USA June 30 to exercise options for the construction of Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) 6 and 7.
These are the sixth and seventh ships fully funded under a November 2008 fixed-price incentive contract modification, previously awarded for the detail, design and construction of one JHSV.
The modification also contained an option for the construction of up to nine additional ships and associated shore-based spares.
Authorization to proceed with construction of JHSVs 2 and 3 was granted January 2010 and authorization to procure long lead time materials for JHSVs 4 and 5 was granted June 2010.
"The awards represent the newest additions to a shipbuilding program that is pursuing an aggressive schedule and a relentless drive for affordability," said Capt. Henry Stevens, program manager for the Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Office of Program Executive Office Ships. "We continue to work diligently with the shipbuilder to evaluate and improve production processes and efficiencies. JHSV 6 and 7 will benefit from the hard work and integrity of everyone involved."
The JHSVs will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vessel and equipment. They will be capable of transporting 700 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations.
The JHSVs will also have airline-style seating for 312 personnel and fixed berthing for 104 additional passengers. JHSVs are designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use.
Combatant commanders will have the flexibility to use JHSVs in a variety of roles, to include supporting the overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, supporting special operations forces and supporting emerging joint seabasing concepts.
The program initially divided the 10 prospective ships of the JHSV class into five ships for assignment to the Army and five ships for assignment to the Navy. However, both services agreed to transfer the Army's five JHSVs to the Navy during the Army/Navy Warfighter Talks in December 2010. Both departments signed a memorandum of agreement May 2 to transfer the JHSVs, and all 10 JHSVs will now be assigned to the Navy.
The ships will be built at Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. To improve production efficiency, Austal USA has been implementing modular manufacturing techniques and facilities. Austal USA's second modular manufacturing facility, currently under construction, represents an $80 million investment that will provide a significant increase in the shipyard's capacity. Austal USA and the Navy anticipate these additional production efficiencies will reduce construction duration, reduce production costs and streamline existing production processes across both the JHSVs and littoral combat ships under construction at the shipyard.
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