The US Navy has awarded a $100m contract to Australian shipbuilder Austal to provide lead-time materials associated with the construction of two more jointigh-speed vessels (JHSVs).

The manufacturing programme of two additional JHSVs is a contribution to the primary $1.6bn ten-vessel contract signed by the company in November 2008.

Under this contract the company will procure diesel engines, water jets and reduction gears for the additional vessels.

The JHSVs, once operational, will transport troops and equipment and support humanitarian relief efforts during missions.

The vessels can operate in shallow waters at speeds of 35kt while fully loaded.

The armed forces of the US will use the vessels as a joint-use platform.

The company will begin construction of the first vessel in November 2009.