Swift a Worthy Prototype for US Military’s JHSV
Now in her fifth year with the US Navy, the HSV 2 Swift could remain in military service for another five years thanks to a new charter for the Tasmanian-built 98 metre Incat Wave Piercing Catamaran.
Sealift Inc. of New York has been awarded the charter of the Swift for up to 59 months, starting 1 October 2008, by the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command. The company, which will charter the craft from its US Owner, Bollinger/Incat, has been awarded a US$21,913,900 firm-fixed-price contract for a 12-month charter of the US-flagged, contractor-operated, high speed vessel.
The contract for the Swift contains four options, which include three 12-month options and one 11-month option, which if exercised, would bring the total contract value to US$93,076,577
Sealift Inc. is a privately held company, incorporated in New York. The company operates a fleet of twelve US flag, ocean-going ships, operating on liner services to world wide destinations. They are also one of the largest ocean transportation contractors for US Government Food Aid cargoes.
Under Sealift, the Swift will be operated worldwide in support of US Fleet Forces Command and the war on terrorism. The vessel will also be used for emerging operational concepts such as seabasing and the Global Fleet Station.
The contract was competitively procured by Military Sealift Command with more than 80 proposals offering various high speed craft solutions solicited.
The Swift, and the Incat vessels HSV-X1 Joint Venture and TSV-1X Spearhead before her, has already been employed by the Department of Defense for experimentation and demonstration of high speed vessel technologies as well as for logistics support. Amongst others, they were used to support operations in the global war on terrorism and during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Swift also supported relief operations in Indonesia and in the Gulf Coast region following hurricane Katrina. In both cases, Swift‘s high speed and shallow draught combined to make it an ideal platform for the delivery of relief supplies and support of other platforms operating in the area. During operations following Katrina, Swift was able to access ports inaccessible to other ships in the logistics force, and therefore played a critical role in the early delivery of supplies.
“This is good news for Bollinger/Incat as if all the options of the contract are exercised, the Swift will be operational with the US Navy until after the JHSV comes online,” says Andrew Cooke, JHSV Project Manager at Incat.
The JHSV (Joint High Speed Vessel) is a new generation, multi-use platform capable of transporting troops and their equipment, supporting humanitarian relief efforts, the ability to operate in shallow waters, and can reach speed in access of 35 knots fully loaded. The project brings together United States Navy, Army, Marines, and Special Operations Command to pursue a multi-use platform.
A consortium of high speed craft industry experts headed by Bollinger Shipyards was recently awarded one of three multi-million dollar design contracts by the US Department of Defense.
“Both Incat and Revolution Design are part of the international consortium responding to the US Department of Defense acquisition program for the JHSV. That consortium is led by Incat’s United States partner, Louisiana-based Bollinger Shipyards, Inc.,” Andrew Cooke explained.
The Incat 112 metre vessel, which forms the base of the consortium’s submission, is the largest catamaran ever built in Australia. Already proven in commercial service it provides unparalled seakeeping and comfort even on rough open sea routes.
“We believe the vessel is ideally suited to the demanding criteria laid out by the JHSV program many of which are already met by the Swift. Given the operational experience of the Swift, and the excellent results of the two 112 metre vessels already in commercial service, we are confident a 112 metre platform can provide the optimum formula for the US military’s needs,’ Mr Cooke concluded.