One of Australia’s largest single exports to the United States, the Incat built 96 metre Wave Piercing Sealift Catamaran, left Hobart on 11 September. The two-year charter to the U.S. military is potentially worth A$50 million for Tasmanian based shipbuilder Incat. It is also the first major military contract secured by the strategic alliance formed last year between Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport (Louisiana, USA) and Incat Australia. Joint Venture HSV-X1 (High Speed Vessel – Experimental One) will be the first high-speed craft to go into service with the United States military forces. This will help to explore the operational implications and opportunities of new marine technologies that are bringing higher speeds, longer ranges and increased payload capacities to surface vessels.
Joint Venture’s speed, range and sealift capacity will easily exceed the various requirements of the U.S. Army contract. The contract requires it to be able to carry 450 tons of cargo including armoured personnel carriers, light armoured vehicles and trucks plus over 325 fully equipped troops, over 1110 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in sea state 3. The Incat vessel must also launch and recover helicopters and small boats in sea state 3, and be able to carry 570 tons of cargo over 600 nautical miles. The helicopter deck, the first ever on a high speed vessel, was designed and installed by Incat to military specifications, to handle large military helicopters such as the SH-60 Seahawk and the CH-46 Sea Knight.