Thursday, January 31, 2008

Austal a JHSV Contender

Austal USA — the company that built the Superferry — is indeed a contender for the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) project.

The Navy announced today that it has awarded preliminary design contracts worth $3 million each to Austal, Bath Iron Works and Bollinger Shipyards Inc.

Austal is now in the position of being able to scrutinize the performance and cost of two American fast ferries it designed and constructed — the Hawaii Superferry and Westpac Express — in developing its proposal for the JHSV design.

That puts Austal on more solid footing in competing against Bollinger, which partnered with Incat to design and build three high speed vessels that have been used by the military: the Joint Venture, Spearhead and Swift.

Both the Swift and the Westpac Express were leased to the military so it could evaluate the JHSV concept. The Hawaii Superferry design is similar to the Westpac Express, but larger and faster.

The JHSV program is intended to produce a vessel that can carry personnel and a large cargo load, travel at high speeds and operate in both near shore and deep waters.

The third contender is Bath Iron Works, which has built numerous Navy ships, but no high speed vessels or ferries, so far as I could tell from its website.

So what’s at stake here?

Well, as I previously reported, one company will be chosen to build all eight of the JHSVs the Navy plans to buy, with the first slated to cost $150 million and the remaining seven projected to cost $130 million each.

The Navy press release states:

"Once delivered, the Joint High Speed Vessel will be a key component of the U.S. military's expeditionary warfare capability," said Rear Adm. Charles Goddard, program executive officer for ships. "This high speed transport will carry soldier or Marines, with their gear, to harbors that would normally be unusable by conventional maritime assets."

Once preliminary design is complete, the Navy will receive detail designs and construction proposals from the three teams. The Navy intends to award a single Phase Two detail design contract with construction options in late 2008. The first ship, an Army vessel, is expected to be delivered in 2011.

The JHSV program is a joint effort between the Army and the Navy to acquire high-speed vessels for the two branches of the U.S. military. JHSV will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment. Currently the U.S. military leases two HSVs [Swift and Westpac Express] each capable of achieving speeds of more than 30 knots.

The current program calls for a total of eight ships, three to be operated by the Navy and five to be operated by the Army.”

Gee, it looks like the Hawaii Superferry needs to get back in service pretty quick so they can start identifying the design kinks — like maybe that pesky rudder.


Anonymous said...

From: not a member of the choir,
The following website:
displays 29 high speed catamaran ferries and one trimaran that have been delivered by Austral since 1996, and 8 that are under construction. They all have the proprietary Austral technology used for the Superferry.
Question #1 is Why single out two of these for some kind of separate significance based on their similar design?
The news about Austral competing for the US Navy JHSV was in the magazine Australian Financial Review in August 2002 prior to any Superferry contract or hull.
Question #2 is Why does an update on this lengthy process have any significance for ships they no longer own.
Every Naval contract is for brand new ships built to their specifications. If Austral gets the contract, they can't "share" it with one of their former customers or substitiute other ships they've built for others.
Question #3 is What does Austral's potential future Navy business have to do with Superferry? That answer is "nothing."

Anonymous said...

How does it relate?

These are sea trials for their American built version of their design...

...presented to the public here as only a commercial enterprise...

...the fuel consumption and propulsion design of which makes it unlikely that this is only a "going concern" commercial enterprise...

...for which the public and state here was lobbied outside of the prior established legal channels to publicly finance.

The key thing is this design will have not been for a "going concern" commercial enterprise that the public here partly financed.

Plus, these ships usually have their own loading ramps and yet the state had built a fundamentally flawed barge ramp design for millions of dollars.

This whole situation was misrepresented to the public here.

Like I have said, it would be better to just tell it to the people straight.

Aloha, Brad

Joan Conrow said...

Dear not a member of the choir, First, it's Austal, not Austral. Question #1: the Superferry and Westpac Express were singled out because they have the design specs the Navy is looking for with the JHSV. I couldn't find any reference in the magazine you cite, but Austal couldn't have been competing for the JHSV in 2002 because the program specs weren't developed until 2005. Question #2: I'm not contending that they're going to 'share' anything with former customers or substitute any ships, but that they are using HSF as a prototype to test design attributes that could help Austal win the JHSV contract, with subsequent benefits for Lehman and his gang. #3 See #2 and/or read Brad's comment.

Anonymous said...

Also, correct me if I am wrong, Joan, but isn't Austal still an investor in HSF. It is true they usually just build and sell or lease these vessels, but this one, the HSF, I believe they are still a part owner in. That alone makes it different than their other ships. There is a reasons for that. Aloha, Brad

Anonymous said...

Navy Captain Patricia Sudal's September 13, 2006 presentation on the JHSV Program referred to the 5+ year history (at that time), that the specs were approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council in November 2005, the sea trials were undertaken between 2001 and 2005 (yes, good ole Westpac and others), and a request for proposals was released in August 2007 with the lead ship to be delivered in 2010. It was over over over over before the first infamous run by the Hawaii Superferry and only the blinded by obsession Brad from Maui would now believe its not.

Anonymous said...

The Request for Proposals and Delivery dates are also from the Navy; but, not a part of the Captain's presentation. That should have been the start of a new sentence.

Mauibrad said...


HSF began to be proposed in 2005, Westpac began its military lease in 2002. Incat began leasing a number of vessels to the U.S. military in 2001. HSF is the first of these types of vessels to be built in the U.S. and requiring its own sea trial, of which it is having difficulties with. The Chinese bought this type of technology from the Australians before 2004 and turned out their first attack fast catamaran in 2004. It is a complex interesting global story that I will continue following. Aloha, Brad

Mauibrad said...

I was just thinking yesterday with the China twist, this whole big story would make a perfect plot for a Tom Clancy novel/movie. ;) Aloha, Brad