USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3) successfully launched on June 5, from the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala.
The third joint high speed vessel is a versatile, non-combatant, transport ship that will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment.
“This launch is an important achievement for the program, as it’s the first time the ship has entered the water,” said JHSV program manager Capt. Henry Stevens. “Launching signifies a ship is ready to enter into the final phase of construction including test and activation of major equipment such as the propulsion plant.”
Millinocket will now prepare for a series of trials conducted by the shipbuilder, testing overall system performance underway prior to demonstration to the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey later this year.
Each JHSV is designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use. These vessels can transport 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. The ships also have an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. JHSVs have berthing space for up to 104 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.
JHSV 3 is one of two JHSVs currently under construction at Austal. The future USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) held a keel laying and authentication ceremony May 20, and JHSV 5 started fabrication in February. USNS Choctaw County delivered June 6. The lead ship of the class, USNS Spearhead, was delivered to the Navy in December 2012. A total of ten JHSV class ships are under contract with Austal.
Millinocket is designated as a U.S. Naval Ship (USNS), signifying its civilian crew. The vessel will have a core crew of 22 civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship as part of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command.
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Delivering high-quality war fighting assets, while balancing affordability and capability, is key to supporting the Navy’s Maritime Strategy.
Press Release, June 7, 2013; Image: Austal