Austal and mtu introduced High-speed Catamaran as Prototype for New Generation of Military Vessels

Posted on April 06, 2004

Innovative multi-hull technology and world's highest performing diesel engine ideally suited for military and homeland requirements.
Innovative multi-hull technology and world's highest performing diesel engine ideally suited for military and homeland requirements.

On 6. April 2004, the world's most powerful diesel-powered high-speed catamaran was presented to a selected audience. Austal Ships, one of the world's largest builders of high-performance aluminum vessels, and mtu, the leading engine supplier for high-powered maritime transportation, introduced the high-tech ship that could potentially become the prototype of a new generation of military vessels. The 284-foot high-speed catamaran features innovative multi-hull technology and the world's most modern high speed diesel engine. It meets the U.S. national security demands for a modern, highly agile and utmost efficient fleet which will be reflected in projects such as the Littoral Combat Ship or the Theatre Support Vessel.

The 86-meter (284 foot) ship sails at a loaded speed of 45.7 knots (52 mph/ 84 kph) and can carry 774 passengers and up to 238 cars or 10 full size trucks. Upon taking up service for its owner, Canadian American Transportation Systems, it will be the first super-ferry to be home-ported in the U.S.

Model of High-speed Vessel Technology

The super ferry is an outstanding example of high-speed vessel technology. Featuring the most powerful engine in its category, the vessel sets new standards in terms of innovative technology and consequent fuel economy. The four mtu 20V Series 8000 diesel engines deliver a total propulsive power of 44,000 HP (32,800 kW) at a rated speed of 1150 rpm. The fuel consumption is below 195 g/kWh across a very broad power range and less than 190g/kWh at the most economical point, while keeping Nox emissions within the limits required by IMO (International Maritime Organization).

"Vessels providing transport, coastal patrol and other military and law enforcement missions perform varied and demanding tasks. We are respected by the World's navies for providing advanced high-power technology, ranging from basic twin-engine plants to high complex and complete systems including diesels and gas turbines," said Bernard Bentgen, Vice President NAFTA Marine Sales of mtu. "Whatever the vessel, whether coastguard or patrol boat, high-speed craft, corvette, frigate or landing ship, mtu has the propulsion system to suit."

The aluminum ship design and construction capabilities that have made Austal a world-leader in the fast ferry industry are increasingly being embraced by U.S. and international defense organizations.

”The US Marine Corps have been using a large Austal catamaran as a troop and equipment transporter for nearly three years with great success and we have also designed a revolutionary trimaran platform for the General Dynamics bid for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship project,” said Chris Pemberton, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Austal USA. “We are also currently building 22 naval patrol boats at Austal Ships in Australia.”

Successful Partnership – Future Projects

Austal and mtu have successfully partnered on a number of prestigious projects. This fall, Austal will launch one of the world’s largest high-speed ferries – a 126-meter high-speed trimaran accommodating 1350 passengers and over 340 cars – which will be taking up service in the Canary Islands for the Spanish ferry operator Fred. Olsen, SA. This breakthrough vessel, on which the Littoral Combat Ship design is based, will be powered by four mtu 20V Series 8000 diesel engines.

Late last year Austal was awarded a contract to build 12 new patrol boats for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). It is anticipated that these 56-meter vessels will each be fitted with two mtu 16V Series 4000 diesel engines, continuing a long association between mtu and the RAN.

About Austal Ships

Austal Ships is a designer and manufacturer of high performance marine transportation, specializing in customized high-speed aluminum passenger and vehicle-passenger ferries, as well as a range of cruise yachts, patrol boats, large military vessels and crew/supply boats and fast freight vessels. Since December 1998, Austal is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. For more information, please go to

About MTU Friedrichshafen

MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH is the leading part of the DaimlerChrysler Off-Highway Division and one of the world’s leading suppliers of diesel engines and complete drive systems for off-highway applications such as ships, heavy land-based and rail-bound vehicles and decentralized power generation systems.

mtu supplies over 70 navies and government agencies around the world. Every other specialized military vessel running with diesel engines such as frigates, corvettes and submarines features an mtu propulsion system. For more information, please go to