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Smashing Sendoff at Austal

Christening day for the first JHSV at Austal shipyard in Mobile.

Christening day for the first JHSV at Austal shipyard in Mobile.

Austal USA christened the first of its new Joint High Speed Vessels and won accolades from a visiting Navy official.

The “Spearhead,” the first of 10 JHSVs to be built in Austal’s Mobile shipyard, was christened Sept. 17. It is an aluminum-hulled, catamaran-style vessel that can carry 600 short tons, average 35 knots, transport 312 people and offer a flight deck for day and night use. It’s designed to be operated by a civilian crew under federal contract, Austal says.

Ship sponsor is Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth Wahlman. His daughter, Catherine, who is in the Army ROTC program at Virginia Tech University, broke the traditional champagne bottle over the bow.

Just two weeks before the Spearhead celebration, Adm. Gary Roughead—the Navy’s highest-ranking officer—visited the shipyard to see the second of the Littoral Combat Ships under construction at Austal.  He called the facilities a model for other shipyards and praised the company’s innovation, the Mobile Press-Register reported.

Austal is Mobile’s largest manufacturing employer with 2,100 on staff and plans for major growth.

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