Austal Hosts Keel Laying Ceremony For US Army’s “Spearhead” (JHSV 1)

This is the first of a class of 10 vessels to be operated by both the US Army and Navy.

1st Aug 2010

Just over six months after the official opening of Austal’s new Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) in November 2009, Austal USA hosted a keel-laying ceremony on July 22 at its shipyard in Mobile, Alabama to signify the erection of the first modules on the US Department of Defense’s next generation multi-use platform, the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). This is part of a 10-ship program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion.

“Spearhead” (JHSV 1) will be a US Army vessel (USAV) and its name represents a major feature of the Regimental Insignia of the Transportation Corps. The insignia is a gold colour metal and enamel device consisting of a ship's steering wheel bearing a shield charged with a winged vehicle wheel on a rail, all gold, centered upon a brick red spearhead point up, all standing upon a curving gold scroll spanning the lower tips of the spearhead and inscribed, "Spearhead of Logistics," in blue letters.

The ceremony signified the erection of the modular components that will form part of a 103-metre aluminium catamaran capable of transporting troops and their equipment, supporting humanitarian relief efforts, operating in shallow waters, and reaching speeds in excess of 35 knots fully loaded. This is the first of a class of 10 vessels to be operated by both the US Army and Navy.

Austal USA is the prime contractor, responsible for designing and constructing the 103-metre high-speed catamaran. General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems is the platform mission systems engineering agent responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s mission systems, including internal and external communications, electronic navigation, and aviation and armament systems.

Addressing the audience on behalf of the US Army, Brig. Gen. Brian R. Layer, Chief of Transportation, commented: “The Joint High Speed Vessel gives combatant commanders the flexibility to maneuver operationally in a variety of missions, including Overseas Contingency Operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, special operations and emerging seabasing concepts in austere port environments.”

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