The U.S. Navy has awarded Austal USA a $53,478,395 undefinitized contract for procurement and engineering support for 11 Expeditionary Fast Transports, formerly known as the Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV). The Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based Catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances.
The vessels will be able to transport 600t for approximately 1,200nm at an average speed of 35k, with berthing space for up to 104 personnel, and airline-style seating for up to 312. In addition to the ability to support overseas contingency operations, these vessels will be able to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, support special operations forces, and emerging joint sea-basing concepts. Bridging the gap between low-speed sealift and high-speed airlift, the JHSV will transport personnel, equipment, and supplies over operational distances with access to littoral offload points including austere, minor and degraded ports in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)/Theater Security Cooperation Program (TSCP); Intra-theater Operational/Littoral Maneuver and Sustainment; and Seabasing.
Austal CEO Andrew Bellamy said:
"It is timely that the US Navy has directed Austal USA to move forward with the procurement of the long lead items for EPF 11. We can now anticipate finalization of a shipbuilding contract for EPF 11 in the coming months."
JHSV is a commercial-design, non-combatant transport vessel, and does not require the development of any new technology. JHSV is being built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) High Speed Naval Craft Guide HNSC 2007. Systems onboard will be based on commercial design and certified in accordance with ABS rules. As such, it does not require the survivability and ability to sustain damage like the LCS. It leverages non-developmental or commercial technology that is modified to suit military applications.
Select military features include Aviation; Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and (Military) Intelligence; Firefighting for the Mission Bay; and four (4) .50 Caliber Machine Guns. The Navy has accepted delivery of four JHSVs with USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) and USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) delivering on March 21, 2014 and Sept. 15, 2014 respectively. USNS Trenton (JHSV 5) launched on Sept. 30, 2014 and is slated to deliver in spring 2015.
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