Fast Rides: HSV Spreads to Middle East
Austal has announced a $124.9 million contract for a pair of High Speed Support Vessel (HSSVs) catamarans, from “a naval customer in the Middle East…. to support naval operations, including helicopter operations, rapid deployment of military personnel and cargo, and search and rescue”.
Austal has a number of customers in the region…
On the military side, they’ve been selling patrol boats on the military side to customers like Kuwait, while building large fast ferries for civil use in countries like Egypt, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. Those fast ferries share many similarities with the HSSVs, and Austal has deep expertise in modifying such vessels for military use via vessels like the Westpac Express, the USA’s Joint HSV fleet, and conversion of the former Hawaii Superferries into HST-1 and HST-2 for US military use. Indeed, a 72m military “TSV” design was unveiled at about the same time as Austal began publicizing concepts for the USA’s JHSV competition. As a point of comparison, the 70m Farasan fast ferries in Saudi service can carry 650 civil passengers, 50 cars, and 15 trucks.
Austal will begin building the ships this year in Henderson, Western Australia, and expects to have both delivered by the end of 2016. Henderson has acquired a strong defense focus, with civilian ferry construction moving to Austal’s recently-opened Balamban, Philippines shipyard. Sources: Austal, “Austal awarded contract for two 72m High Speed Defence Support Vessels”.