The second Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) keel laid at Austal in 2014

On December 2, 2014, Austal and the U.S. Navy celebrated the keel-laying of the future USNS Brunswick (JHSV 6), the second keel-laying ceremony for the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) program since the beginning of the year. Brunswick (JHSV 6) is one of ten Austal-designed 103-meter (338-foot) U.S. Navy JHSVs under contract. There have been four JHSVs delivered since receiving the 10-ship block-buy contract. The ship’s sponsor, Mrs. Alma B. Booterbaugh, was present at the ceremony to authenticate the keel.

A civil servant for over 29 years with the Federal Government, Mrs. Booterbaugh is the recipient of the Meritorious Civilian Service Award and three Navy Superior Civilian Service awards. She currently holds the position of Office Manager and Scheduler for the Secretary of the Navy.

Mrs. Booterbaugh was assisted at the ceremony by Mr. Wayne Alexander. Mr. Alexander is an “A” Class welder and joined the Austal team earlier this year.

A traditional keel-laying ceremony marks the first significant milestone in the construction of the ship. Due to Austal’s modular approach to ship manufacturing, all 43 of the modules that will be used to construct this 103-meter aluminum catamaran are already under construction. For Austal, keel-laying marks the beginning of final assembly. Sixteen modules have been moved from Austal’s Module Manufacturing Facility (MMF) and erected in the Final Assembly bay in their pre-launch position, the first having been erected just two months ago on October 2, 2014. The rest will follow over the coming months.

Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA President, made the following remarks regarding the keel laying event: “The JHSV has proven in a very short time to be a tremendous asset to the U.S. Navy.” He went on to say, “We are doing what we have promised – delivering two JHSVs within a calendar year while making these ships more affordable for the Navy.” The recent success of USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) and USNS Choctaw County (JHSV2) have demonstrated the ship’s ability to meet today’s fleet requirements while also providing solutions for future Navy missions.”

Perciavalle also recognized the talented Austal employees who have played an integral role in the success of the JHSV program. “I become more proud of Austal USA’s team of multi-talented shipbuilders every time we celebrate another major milestone for one of these great vessels.”

Austal was selected as prime contractor in November 2008 to design and build the first JHSV, with options for nine additional vessels expected to be exercised between FY09 and FY13 as part of a block buy program. All nine options have been exercised.

The JHSV is an important Navy asset, serving various roles including providing a surface connector. In peacetime, JHSVs will operate forward supporting Navy Expeditionary Combat Command and riverine forces, Seabees, Marine Corps, Army and Special Operations Command (SOCOM) units conducting theater cooperation and other missions. Each JHSV also supports helicopter operations and has a slewing vehicle ramp on the starboard quarter which enables use of austere piers and quay walls, common in developing countries. A shallow draft (under 5 meters) further enhances theater port access.

USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) was delivered in December 2012 and has been deployed to Europe, Africa, and Central America. USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) was delivered in June 2013 and is currently stationed in Norfolk, Va. She participated in the Star Spangled Spectacular celebration in Baltimore, Maryland, this past summer and more recently in the amphibious exercise Bold Alligator. USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) was delivered in March 2014 and participated in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific exercises on the West Coast. The Navy accepted delivery of USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) in August. Trenton (JHSV 5) is preparing for trials scheduled for early 2015 and construction has begun on Carson City (JHSV 7) in Austal USA’s Module Manufacturing Facility.

Austal USA is also the prime contractor for the Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program. The 10-ship $3.5 billion block buy contract was awarded to Austal USA in December 2010. Eight of the ten vessels are funded per the contract with six under construction at this time.

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 for the JHSV program, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems.

About Austal

Austal is a global defense prime contractor and a designer and manufacturer of defense and commercial ships. For more than 25 years Austal has been a leader in the design, construction and maintenance of revolutionary ships for Governments, Navies and Ferry operators around the world. More than 250 vessels have been delivered in that time.


Defense vessels designed and built by Austal include multi-mission combatants, such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the United States Navy and military high speed vessels for transport and humanitarian relief, such as the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) for the United States Navy and High Speed Support Vessel (HSSV) for the Royal Navy of Oman. Austal also designs, constructs, integrates and maintains an extensive range of patrol and auxiliary vessels for government agencies globally, including the Cape Class Patrol Boat Program for Australian Customs and Border Protection. Defense vessels are designed and constructed in Mobile, Alabama and in Henderson, Western Australia.

Austal has been at the forefront of the high speed ferry market since the early days of the industry. Our market leading designs of high performance aluminum vessels have long been at the heart of Austal’s research and development. Today, commercial ship construction is centered on our shipyard in Balamban, Philippines.


Austal has expertise in integrating complex systems into its ships, including ride control, ship management, and communication, sensors and weapon systems.


Austal provides a wide range of support services, including through life support, integrated logistics support, vessel sustainment and systems support. These services are delivered through our global support network in the USA, Australia, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East together with partner shipyards worldwide.


Media – For further information contact:
Terry O’Brien, VP Business Development and External Affairs or
Michelle Bowden, Communications & Marketing Coordinator
Tel: 251-654-8134, Fax: 251-445-1955