HENDERSON, Australia, March 10 (UPI)
An unidentified Middle Eastern customer has contracted Australian shipbuilder Austal Limited to supply two high speed support vessels.
The contract is worth $124.9 million and includes provision of integrated logistics support, the company said.
"This contract reinforces the significant progress we have made in positioning Austal as a prime defense contractor," said Austal Chief Executive Officer Andrew Bellamy. "The contract also illustrates the growing recognition by international naval forces of the utility of high speed support vessels, following on from our 10-ship Joint High Speed Vessel contract for the U.S. Navy."
High speed support vessels are shallow draft ships for rapid intra-theater transport of medium-sized cargo payloads. JHSVs of the U.S. Navy will reach speeds of 35-45 knots. In addition to transport, the vessels can support helicopter operations and search-and-rescue operations.
Austal said under the contract, the vessels for the Middle Eastern customer will each be 236 feet long. Construction of the first will begin this year at its shipyard in Henderson in western Australia.