2001, Austal, Western Australia
DNV GL 100 A5 HSC-Passenger B Ro-Ro Type OC3
100.99 metres LOA
4 x Caterpillar 3618 diesel engines each producing 7,200 kW @ 1,050 rpm
4 x CAT 3408C / 320kW @ 60Hz
4 x Reintjes VLJ 6831
4 x Rolls Royce KaMeWa 125 SII
35 knots (service)
T-Max rudders and forward ride control
High speed catamaran available for sale or charter
Westpac Express is an Australian-built high speed catamaran that has provided extensive logistic support to military and humanitarian operations while chartered to the United States Military Sealift Command (MSC).
Westpac Express has primarily supported the Third Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF) of the United States Marine Corps (USMC) by transporting personnel, vehicles and equipment between Okinawa, Japan and other ports in the Asia Pacific region.
Westpac Express can operate at service speeds of up to 35 knots and has the capability to deliver up to 970 troops plus 550 tonnes of additional cargo in a single load. In comparison, it would require 14 to 17 airlift sorties to transport the same volume of troops and cargo. Westpac Express transports nearly all equipment in the USMC inventory with the exception of M1-A1 tanks, CH-53 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.
Westpac Express was contracted in 2001 to provide a time and cost efficient alternative to more traditional strategic airlift transport when deploying US Marines from Okinawa. Prior to the Westpac Express contract, III MEF were operating more than 200 flights per year from Kadena Air Base in support of off island exercises. The versatility of Westpac Express became fully apparent during the initial in-service trial period where it significantly decreased the road travel of military vehicles by embarking / disembarking Marines much closer to their bases and training grounds. It also saved an estimated 276 C-17 cargo plane sorties. Importantly for local communities, the introduction ofWestpac Express has decreased aircraft noise levels and significantly reduced military traffic on already congested roads.
The high on call availability, rapid response ability, economic operation, long range and high payload capabilities have seen Westpac Express at the forefront of United States military sealift and humanitarian relief operations in the Asia Pacific region. In a testament to the success of Westpac Express, it has remained on charter to MSC since 2001, including multiple charter extensions.
A 101 metre sistership to Westpac Express operates as a large high speed commercial ferry. Indeed, prior to being contracted to MSC, Austal envisaged that Westpac Express would operate as a commercial high speed ferry in Europe.
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