JHSV illustration. Image: Austal

Austal said today that the U.S. Navy has exercised contract options calling for the construction of the two additional Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) worth an added $320 million.  The vessels are the eighth and ninth JHSVs ordered by the U.S. Navy in the potentially 10-ship program now valued at $1.45 billion.

As prime contractor, Austal was awarded the construction contract for the first 103 meter JHSV in November 2008, with options for up to nine additional vessels between 2009 and 2013 with a total value of $1.6 billion.  All 10 vessels are to be built at Austal’s Mobile, AL shipyard, which now has secured shipbuilding work until mid-2016 according to Austal.

The first vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), is scheduled for builder’s sea trials in March and will be operated by Military Sealift Command.  JHSV 2 and JHSV 3 are also under construction and another six JHSVs have now been ordered. The tenth and final contract option is scheduled to be exercised within 12 months, according to Austal.

In other Austal news, the company recently christened a second Independence-variant 127 meter Littoral Combat Ship for the US Navy with the Coronado, or LCS 4, now preparing for builder’s trials.  The US Navy confirmed the construction of the first two of potentially 10 LCSs in December 2010 and March 2011. Austal says dditional options are expected to be awarded in the near future.

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