MOBILE, Ala. – Austal USA reports that USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), the high-speed catamaran transport ship the company is currently building, successfully completed builder’s sea trials on April 19 in the Gulf of Mexico. The trials encompassed more than 50 demonstration events that enabled the shipbuilder to rigorously test the ship and all of its systems in preparation for final inspection by the Navy before delivery.
The company said notable achievements during the trials included a demonstration of major systems along with first-of-class standardization and maneuverability trials, reaching a top speed in excess of 35 knots.
A series of high-speed ahead and astern maneuvers in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrated the effectiveness of the ship’s four steerable water jets, Austal reported. In the course of repeated high-speed turns the ship demonstrated the stability and agility of the catamaran hullform, with the JHSV exhibiting virtually no heeling motions throughout the radical turns.
Upon returning from the full-power trial, Joe Rella, president and COO of Austal USA, remarked in a statement: “The successful first run trials for this prototype vessel validates the quality and reliability of Austal’s shipbuilding know-how. I have never witnessed a more problem-free builder’s sea trial than USNS Spearhead’s. The global Austal organization successfully participated in the design, procurement, and production of this ship with a great outcome, all being accomplished while locally, Austal USA continues to hire new workers and expand our facilities. This is a telltale sign of the dedication of our team of shipbuilding professionals.”
Austal is currently under contract with the U.S. Navy to build nine 103-meter JHSVs under a 10-ship, $1.6 billion contract and five 127-meter Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class vessels, four of which are a part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract.