The first of two RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames (RHFSF) Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs) being built for the Iraqi navy completed two days of successful sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico last week, returning pierside to Houma, La., on June 15. The 60-meter multi-purpose OSV is scheduled for for delivery to the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) later this month. The two OSVs are planned for subsequent transfer to the Iraqi Navy in the fall. Under way trials for the second OSV are scheduled later this summer. OSV 401 Al Basra and OSV 402 Al Fayhaa will complement NAVSEA-procured patrol boats and fast interceptors. Al Fayhaa was launched Feb. 1, 2012.
RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames (RHFSF), the prime contractor on the OSV procurement, conducted the trials along with an industry-government team of key sub-contractors. The steel hull and aluminum deckhouse of the vessels were fabricated by Gulf Island Marine Fabricators (GIMF) in their shipyard facility in Houma, La., and Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine (NGSM) provided the ship’s communications, sensor and navigation systems.
The trials were overseen by NAVSEA PMS 325 and the Navy’s Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast to identify issues requiring correction prior to final acceptance. Trials included both pier-side and under way machinery, equipment and systems testing to ensure the ship met all contractual and operational requirements.
The OSV is planned to provide a wide range of capabilities, from command and control to support and protection of oil production platforms, to acting as a “mothership” for patrol boats.
The ships are equipped with a vertical replenishment platform, and armament includes a 30 mm MSI Seahawk DS-30 remotely operated gun mount and up to 10 machine guns, including four .50-caliber M2 heavy machine guns and six M240 5.56 mm light machine guns, Mritunjoy Mazumdar reported in March. Each OSV will also carry two fast attack boats (FABs).
Operational requirements for the OSVs include:
- Command and control
- Patrol of territorial waters
- Offshore oil platform protection
- Fast attack boat (FAB) launch, recovery, and support
- Support, repair, and refueling of patrol boats (PB)
- Provide naval gunfire
- Transportation of troops from base to offshore oil platforms
- SCUBA diving operations support
- Anti-pollution equipment deployment/anti-pollution support
- External firefighting
- Helicopter vertical replenishment operations
- Towing of sister vessels
The OSV program is part of a larger procurement, awarded to RiverHawk in March of 2010, which will include spare parts, guns and ammunition. With an overall contact value exceeding $86 million and involving more than 30 tier I and II vendors and sub-contractors, the Iraqi OSV program represents a significant boost to local economies. The work has created an estimated 210 jobs across the U.S. Gulf region.
RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames, LLC, is a small business headquartered in Tampa, Fla. RiverHawk specializes in construction and follow-on support of high quality afloat platforms for security and defense missions. In addition to the OSV, current construction includes Advanced Multi-mission Platforms (AMP), and very high speed patrol and interdiction craft.