Tuesday, December 22, 2009

US Navy: Construction Commences on First Joint High Speed Vessel

Focus on Defense
News from the U.S. Navy

Focus on Defense:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22, 2009 -- Workers at the Austal USA shipyard started fabrication of the first Joint High Speed Vessel Dec. 17 in Mobile, Ala.

"This is an important milestone for our program which brings us one step closer to delivering this critical asset to both the Army and the Navy," said Capt. George Sutton, the Strategic and Theater Sealift Office program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "Considerable investments in the Austal shipyard, coupled with the implementation of proven commercial technology, gives me high levels of confidence in the shipyard's ability to execute the program."

To pave the way for the start of fabrication, the JHSV program completed an extensive Production Readiness Review on Oct. 20. The ship's design maturity and readiness, the availability of materials and components, and the shipbuilder's ability to successfully start fabrication were all closely evaluated. Following the review, the Navy granted authorization for the company to begin construction.

Austal's recently constructed Modular Manufacturing Facility will eventually provide a five-fold increase in the company's existing construction capacity. This facility will have the ability to build both the Littoral Combat Ship and JHSV.

The JHSV program is procuring high-speed transport vessels for the Army and the Navy. These vessels will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment. The ship's large volume, high transport speed and inherent flexibility makes it a key asset for humanitarian and disaster relief, allied partnership and other outreach efforts.

The JHSV program merges the previous Army Theater Support Vessel and the Navy High Speed Connector, taking advantage of the inherent commonality between the two programs. To leverage the Navy's extensive experience in surface ship acquisition, PEO Ships has taken the lead on acquisition of both the Army and Navy high speed transport vessels.

The first JHSV, an Army vessel, is expected to be delivered in fiscal year 2012.

PEO Ships is responsible for the development and acquisition of U.S. Navy surface ships, and is currently managing the design and construction of 11 major ship classes and a wide range of small boats and craft. These platforms range from major warships such as frontline surface combatants and amphibious assault ships to air-cushioned landing craft, oceanographic research ships and special warfare craft. Since its creation in November 2002, PEO Ships has delivered more than 35 major warships and hundreds of small boats and craft from more than 20 shipyards and boat builders across the United States.

(Report from a Team Ships Public Affairs news release.)

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