On Monday, with support from BAE Systems Southeast Shipyard and Berard Transportation, Austal USA successfully completed the launch process of the recently christened USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2), the second Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).
This 103-meter high-speed catamaran represents the US Department of Defense’s next generation multi-use platform and is part of a 10-ship program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion.
Brian Leathers, Austal USA Interim President and Chief Financial Officer commented: “This is the ship’s first voyage, one of many in its future. Austal designed this ship to serve as a rapid transit workhorse for our military to assist in humanitarian efforts and to transport troops and their equipment from port to port. It is due to the important role that it will play in intra-theatre deployment / transportation that the Austal JHSV team takes such pride in our part in facilitating the success of the JHSV program.”
Austal is currently under contract with the US Navy to build nine 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, US$1.6 billion contract and five 127-meter, Independence-variant LCS class ships, four of which are a part of a 10-ship, USD $3.5 billion contract.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. As the ship systems integrator, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems including the combat system, networks and seaframe control. General Dynamics’ proven open architecture approach allows for affordable and efficient capability growth as technologies develop.
These two contracts will require Austal to increase its Mobile, Alabama workforce to approximately 4,000 employees in order to fulfill the contract requirements.
“With almost ten percent of these workers expected to reside in the neighboring states of Florida and Mississippi,” said Leathers, “we are proud that Austal is an engine of regional growth for the Gulf.”
All images courtesy Austal USA