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."

"The fourth Spearhead-class JHSV ship was named Fall River to honour the city of Fall River, Massachusetts, US."

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.

Defence Technology