The Naval Sea Systems Command this fall authorized Austal USA, prime contractor for the joint Army-Navy Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV) program, to begin construction on the fourth and fifth ships of the class at the company’s Mobile, Alabama, shipyard. In mid-September, Austal started work on the second JHSV, the Vigilant (JHSV-2). Austal laid the keel for the first ship of the class, the Spearhead (JHSV-1), last July, with launch scheduled for June 2011 and delivery to the Army in December 2011.
The JHSVs will provide rapid intra-theater transport of Army and Marine Corps personnel, vehicles, and cargo for both services. The vessels will be capable of operating in shallow waters as well as loading and off-loading at roll-on/roll-off port facilities.