USNS Spearhead, the US Navy’s first Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), sailed away from the Austal USA shipyard Jan. 19 en route to its layberth in Little Creek, Va.
Manned for the first time by the ship’s crew, Spearhead will now begin a period of operational test and trials prior to conducting missions later this year.
“The ship’s designers, builders and crew have done an exceptional job preparing USNS Spearhead for sailaway,” said Capt. Henry Stevens, program manager for the JHSV program. “I look forward to building and delivering more of these very capable and adaptable vessels.”
The Navy accepted the delivery of JHSV 1 from Austal USA on Dec. 5, 2012. Spearhead will conduct a succession of post-delivery test and trials to thoroughly test the ship’s systems and to complete crucial crew and training certifications.
Operated by Military Sealift Command, JHSV 1 will have a crew of 22 federally-employed civil service mariners. The first four ships will be crewed by civil service mariners, while the remainder will be crewed by civilian mariners working for private companies under contract to Military Sealift Command. Military mission personnel will embark as required.
The ships of the JHSV 1 class are designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use. The vessel is capable of transporting 600 short tons at least 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank. Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. JHSV 1 has airline style seating for 312 embarked forces, with fixed berthing for 146.
Naval Today Staff, January 24, 2013