Austal christened USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) this morning (20 April) at its state-of-the-art shipyard in Mobile, Alabama. USNS Millinocket is the third of ten Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) Austal has under contract with the U.S. Navy as part of an overall 10-ship contract worth over $1.6 billion.
The 338-foot (103 metre) catamaran vessel was named Millinocket by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on May 30, 2012, after the Maine towns of East Millinocket and Millinocket. According to Secretary Mabus, “Millinocket displays American values of community and ingenuity at their best. I chose to name the joint high speed vessel after East Millinocket and Millinocket to honor those values and the men and women of the community that represents them no less today than it did in the early 1900s.”
The ship’s sponsor, the Honorable Karen Gordon Mills, was sworn in as Administrator of the Small Business Administration in April 2009. A Maine resident, Ms. Mills has served in the President’s Cabinet since January 2012, where she is a key member of the President’s economic leadership team reflecting the important role that small businesses and entrepreneurs play in our nation’s long-term economic growth and prosperity.
Under her leadership, SBA had a record year in 2011, supporting more than $30 billion in lending to more than 60,000 small businesses across the United States. Over the last three years, Administrator Mills has streamlined and simplified SBA’s core loan programs, reduced paperwork, shortened turnaround times and increased transparency across the agency.
“Administrator Mills was a particularly appropriate sponsor for this Navy ship,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle, “it is a wonderful way to honor the more than 200 small businesses nationwide that support the JHSV program.”
Over 600 naval and shipyard guests attended the ceremony, which was held underneath the ship, between the iconic twin hulls of the USNS Millinocket. Vice Admiral William R. Burke, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems, was the principal speaker at the event.
Austal USA President, Craig Perciavalle, praised the ship, saying, “USNS Millinocket is a revolutionary new platform that will bring an unprecedented level of flexibility, mobility, efficiency and support to our Combatant Commanders and nation.” He also praised the shipbuilders, saying “The USNS Millinocket is a great ship, built by great Navy shipbuilders, master craftsmen who worked tirelessly to bring this new ship to life.”
Austal USA is a full-service shipyard offering design, construction and high-speed vessel service and repair. As Austal USA continues to expand its service and repair capabilities, the company is well-positioned for new business with engineering, test and trials capabilities, and a new waterfront facility on the Mobile Bay waterfront.
Austal has been contracted by the U.S. Navy to build ten 103-metre JHSVs under a 10-ship, US$1.6 billion contract, one of which has already been delivered, and eight 127-metre Independence-variant LCS class ships (including USS Independence, delivered to the Navy in 2009), six of which are a part of a 10-ship, $3.5 billion contract.
Four JHSVs and four LCSs are currently under construction in Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard.
For the LCS and JHSV programs, Austal, as prime contractor, is teamed with General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics. As the ship systems integrator for the LCS program, General Dynamics is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s electronic systems including the combat system, networks, and seaframe control. General Dynamics’ proven open architecture approach allows for affordable and efficient capability growth as technologies develop.
These two contracts will require Austal to increase its Mobile, Alabama workforce to approximately 4,000 employees in order to fulfill the contract requirements.
Naval Today Staff, April 22, 2013; Image: Austal