Austal has christened the US Navy’s fourth Spearhead-class joint high-speed vessels (JHSV), USNS Fall River (JHSV 4), during a ceremony held at the Austal shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, US.
USNS Fall River is being built by Austal as part of a $1.6bn contract awarded by the US Navy in November 2008 to build the first JHSV, with options to construct an additional nine vessels.
The fourth Spearhead-class JHSV ship was named Fall River to honour the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, US, and the service of the men and women from that city.
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Operated by the Military Sealift Command, the JHSVs can support a range of missions such as fast intra-theatre transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment, as well as manoeuvre and sustainment, military logistics and humanitarian relief operations.
Austal’s US president Craig Perciavalle said: "Fall River is a revolutionary and cost-effective new platform with cutting edge technology, bringing an unprecedented level of flexibility, mobility, volume, efficiency and support to our combatant commanders and nation."
Designed to be fast, flexible and manoeuvrable in shallow waters, the Spearhead-class vessels are equipped with helicopter operations surveillance system (HOSS) to enable the aircraft to operate in very low-light conditions.
Powered by four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines driving four Wartsila WLD 1400 SR waterjets, the ships feature a Navair level on e class two certified flight deck to support helicopter missions.
Capable of accommodating a crew of approximately 42, the 103m-long vessel also features rounded bilge and bulbous bow hull forms made of aluminium to support operations in shallow-draft ports and waterways.