USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), the U.S. Navy’s first of ten joint, high-speed vessels (JHSV) docked in Rota, Spain on Monday, January 27 for its first port call on its maiden deployment, aimed at building up relations with partner nations in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of West Africa and in the Gulf of Guinea.
Spearhead’s main task will be to ensure a forward-presence for emergent intra-theater transport needs and to boost interoperability among Africa partners as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS), the Navy said in a release.
Spearhead will be able to put its capabilities to a test within two maritime exercises, scheduled to take place under the umbrella of APS, the Obangame Express and Saharan Express. The exercises will be staged in the Gulf of Guinea and off West Africa.
“Spearhead’s vast array of capabilities makes it an ideal platform to operate in complex environments and perform a wide variety of missions,” said Navy Capt. Marc Lederer, Spearhead’s mission commander. “Spearhead’s speed and versatility allow it to be where it matters, when it matters.”
Spearhead, departed Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Ft. Story on January 16, setting sail on its maiden deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility, where it will stay until May. The vessel’s deployment was first planned to take place on January 15th, nevertheless it was delayed for a day due to bad weather.
In June, the 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran will sail to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility, where it will remain through the end of fiscal year 2014.
During deployment, Spearhead will visit and interact with more than 20 nations and sail more than 15,000 miles, testing all its capabilities to the maximum.
Naval Today Staff, January 29, 2014; Image: US Navy