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  • USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1)

    The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command has accepted delivery of the Navy's first joint high-speed vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1).

    Link to Austal's JHSV product webpage.

    Link to Austal's JHSV data sheet (pdf).

    Navy takes delivery of JHSV-1

    06 December 2012
    Marine Log

    The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command yesterday accepted delivery of the Navy's first joint high-speed vessel at Austal USA's Mobile, Ala., shipyard.

    Craig Perciavalle, Sr. Vice President of Austal USA, represented the shipbuilder at the signing event.

    Austal USA Interim President and CFO Brian Leathers commented: "The delivery of the USNS Spearhead is a significant achievement for Austal and adds to the rich history of Mobile as a hub of shipbuilding activity in the United States. Austal USA has delivered 12 ships in 11 years, certainly a major contributor to the shipbuilding legacy of Mobile, Alabama."

    MSC will own and operate Spearhead and the eight other JHSVs that are under contract, with the option of a ninth additional vessel, to be built for the Navy. Spearhead is crewed by 22 civil service mariners working for MSC who will operate, navigate and maintain the ship.

    "Flexibility may be the best attribute of this ship," said civilian Capt. Douglas D. Casavant, Jr., Spearhead's civil service master who has been sailing for MSC for 23 years. "Our 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be reconfigured to quickly adapt to whatever mission we are tasked with, for instance, carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief or transporting tanks and troops."

    The JHSVs are capable of transporting approximately 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and can operate in shallow-draft, austere ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility.

    The JHSVs' aviation flight deck can support day and night flight operations for a wide variety of aircraft, including CH-53 Super Stallions. Each JHSV has sleeping accommodations for up to 42 crew members and 104 mission personnel; and airline-style seating for 312 people.

    As MSC assets, all of the JHSVs will be civilian-crewed. The first four of the 10 projected vessels, including Spearhead, will be crewed by civil service mariners, while the next six are slated to be crewed by civilian mariners working for a private company under contract to MSC. Military mission personnel will embark as required by mission sponsors.

    Following delivery to the Navy, Spearhead will participate in operational testing before sailing to its layberth in Little Creek, Va. The Navy expects the ship to begin conducting missions in the first quarter of fiscal year 2013.

    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 features 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.


    Australia: Austal Wins USD 313 Million JHSV 6 and 7 Contract

    01 July 2011
    Industrial Marine Power

    The U.S. Navy has exercised contract options funding the construction of the sixth and seventh Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), as part of a ten-vessel program potentially worth over US$1.6 billion. The construction contract for both vessels is valued at approximately US$313 million.
    Austal Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Bellamy, noted that this contract demonstrates the U.S. Navy’s confidence in Austal as a leading defence prime contractor.

    “With options remaining for a further three vessels, the JHSV program is expected to deliver a predictable revenue stream of AUD$330 million per annum from 2012 to 2015, which is approximately 60 per cent of Austal’s historical revenue.”

    As prime contractor, Austal was awarded the construction contract for the first 103-metre JHSV in November 2008, with options for nine additional vessels between FY09 and FY13. The Austal JHSV team includes platform systems engineering agent General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems who is responsible for the design, integration and testing of the ship’s mission systems, including internal and external communications, electronic navigation, and aviation and armament systems.

    Austal received authorisation from the Navy to start construction on the first vessel of the contract, Spearhead (JHSV 1), in December 2009 after completing the rigorous design over a 12-month period. Spearhead is scheduled for launch in August 2011 and delivery in December 2011. Construction on Vigilant (JHSV 2), began at Austal’s Mobile, Alabama, USA shipyard on September 13, 2010.

    Austal USA’s President and Chief Operating Officer Joe Rella remarked, “this award facilitates the continued development and growth of our U.S. operations, as well as the expansion of our Alabama workforce from over 2,000 to nearly 4,000.”

    Austal is also currently building a second Independence-variant 127-metre Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) for the U.S. Navy, Coronado (LCS 4), which is scheduled for launch in September 2011. As prime contractor, Austal recently received a U.S. Navy contract for construction of up to an additional 10 Littoral Combat Ships, including Jackson (LCS 6) and Montgomery (LCS 8), to be appropriated in the following five years, with a total value in excess of $3.5 billion. Once commissioned, these 10 vessels will join the Austal-built USS Independence (LCS 2) which was commissioned in January 2010.


    Austal releases more JHSV details

    09 February 2009
    Marine Log

    Austal has now released some more details of its winning design for the Joint High Speed Vessel.

    The JHSV Program will provide high speed, shallow draft transportation capability to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies and equipment for the U. S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army.

    Austal was awarded a contract for the first JHSV on November 14, 2008. With options for up to nine additional ships and associated shore-based spares, the program is worth a potential $1.6 billion.

    The Austal JHSV is a round bilge, bulbous bow, catamaran with a length of 103.0 m (337.9 ft) and beam of 28.5 m (93.5 ft) and draft of 3.83 m (12.57 ft)..It features a 1,863 sq m (20,053 sq ft) mission bay-- an open plan deck that provides space for a range of military hardware, vehicles and small boats. Containerized and palletized cargo can also be transported on the deck.

    Though broadly similar to Austal designs such as the slightly larger Hawaii Superferry, it offers quite a few features not found on its commercial counterparts, weapons mounts among them.


    The US Navy -- Fact File: Joint High Speed Vessel - JHSV

    The Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based Catamaran capable of intra-theater personnel and cargo lift providing combatant commanders high-speed sealift mobility with inherent cargo handling capability and agility to achieve positional advantage over operational distances. Bridging the gap between low-speed sealift and high-speed airlift, the JHSV will transport personnel, equipment, and supplies over operational distances with access to littoral offload points including austere, minor and degraded ports in support of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)/Theater Security Cooperation Program (TSCP); Intra-theater Operational/Littoral Maneuver and Sustainment; and Seabasing. The JHSV will enable the rapid projection, agile maneuver, and sustainment of modular, tailored forces in response to a wide range of military and civilian contingencies such as Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

    The JHSV is designed to transport 600 short tons of military cargo 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in sea state 3. The ship is capable of operating 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 (M1A2). The JHSV will includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp will be suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries. JHSV�s shallow draft (about 13 feet (3.92 m)) will further enhance littoral operations and port access. This makes the JHSV an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.

    JHSV is a commercial-design, non-combatant transport vessel, and does not require the development of any new technology. JHSV is being built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) High Speed Naval Craft Guide HNSC 2007. Systems onboard will be based on commercial design and certified in accordance with ABS rules. As such, it does not require the survivability and ability to sustain damage like the LCS. It has no combat system capability and no ability to support or use LCS mission modules. It leverages non-developmental or commercial technology that is modified to suit military applications. Select military features include Aviation; Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and (Military) Intelligence; Firefighting for the Mission Bay; and four (4) .50 Caliber Machine Guns. NVR does not apply to any part of JHSV.

    JHSVs will have a crew of 22 people, but will have airline style seating for more than 312 embarked troops and fixed berthing for104. Military Sealift Command (MSC) will operate and sustain the JHSVs. JHSV will be allocated via Global Force Management (GFM) for Theater Security Cooperation (TSC), service unique missions, intra-theater sealift, and special missions.

    On Nov. 13, 2008, the Navy awarded Austal USA, Mobile, Ala., a $185,433,564 fixed-price incentive contract modification for detail design and construction (DD&C) of one Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). The contract modification also includes options for the construction of up to nine additional ships and associated shore-based spares.

    Navy exercised options for JHSV 2 and JHSV 3 on January 28, 2010, JHSV 4 and JHSV 5 on October 12, 2010, JHSV 6 and JHSV 7 on June 30, 2011, and JHSV 8 and JHSV 9 on February 24, 2012. Start of construction of JHSV 2 began on September 13, 2010, JHSV 3 start of construction began on September 2, 2011 and construction on the JHSV 4 began May 7, 2012. JHSV 1 was christened USNS Spearhead September 17, 2011 and the Navy accepted delivery the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2013. . JHSV 2 was christened USNS Choctaw County September 15, 2012 and is expected to be delivered during the first half of 2013. The program initially divided the 10 prospective ships of the JHSV class into five ships for assignment to the Army and five ships for assignment to the Navy. However, both services agreed to transfer the Army's five JHSVs to the Navy at the Army/Navy Warfighter Talks in December 2010. Both departments signed a memorandum of agreement May 2 transferring all five of the Army's joint high-speed vessels to the Navy. All 10 JHSVs will now be assigned to the Navy.

    Point Of Contact
    Office of Corporate Communication (SEA 00D)
    Naval Sea Systems Command
    Washington, D.C. 20376

    General Characteristics

    Primary Function: The JHSV Program will provide high speed, shallow draft transportation capability to support the intra-theater maneuver of personnel, supplies and equipment for the U. S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Army.
    Builder: Austal USA

    Propulsion: Water Jet
    Length: 103 Meters (338 feet)
    Beam: 28.5 meters (93.5 feet)
    Displacement: 2500 metric tons (2460 long tons)
    Draft: 13 feet (3.92 meters)
    Speed: 35-40 knots
    Range: 1,200 nautical miles
    Crew: 22 civilian mariners
    Homeport: Not yet determined.
    USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), under construction - no homeport
    USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2), under construction - no homeport
    Millinocket (JHSV 3), under construction - no homeport
    Fall River (JHSV 4), under construction - no homeport

    Last Update: 4 November 2012


    NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive
    USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1)
    Last edited by JRT; 07 Dec 12,, 01:24.

  • #2
    So, it's basically a high-speed RO-RO?
    "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge


    • #3
      In addition to ro/ro it can carry marines. These could have been used in a theater such as Grenada or humanitarian efforts like Haiti. They would also be useful for the evacuation of US citizens from unstable countries.
      These ships may be deployed with LCS ships in non-traditional operations.
      Last edited by surfgun; 08 Dec 12,, 00:26.


      • #4
        Originally posted by surfgun View Post
        In addition to ro/ro it can carry marines. These could have been used in a theater such as Grenada or humanitarian efforts like Haiti. They would also be useful for the evacuation of US citizens from unstable countries.
        These ships may be deployed with LCS ships in non-traditional operations.
        I DO like the fact that it has a fairly large heli-deck on the rear (kinda like the LCS-2) large enough to handle a -53.
        "There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not there any more." -Ghost of Christmas Present, Scrooge


        • #5
          Its been reported that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has decided to redesignate the USNS Spearhead (T-JHSV-1) class of joint high speed vessel to EPF expeditionary fast transport.


          • #6
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            New Navy ship Fall River will be in port at Battleship Cove

            9/11/2015 | Herald News (Massachussetts)

            FALL RIVER — Battleship Cove officials and Mayor Sam Sutter's administration announced today the imminent arrival of an essential, newly built Navy Joint High Speed Vessel — the USNS Fall River — for the public to view.

            The 338-foot aluminum catamaran, a non-combat ship designed for speed, flexibility and maneuverability, will be in port at Battleship Cove from Thursday 09/17/2015 through Friday 09/20/2015 for the public to view from the fantail of the Battleship Massachusetts.

            The Fall River — the second naval vessel named for the city in the past 70 years — is part of an 11-vessel fleet, built at a cost of $1.6 billion, to transport troops, military equipment and other watercraft. The fleet was built by shipbuilder Austal USA, and was christened in January 2014 by Diane Bemus Patrick, wife of former Gov. Deval Patrick. It was tested and transferred to the Navy a year ago.

            “This is an amazingly rare event for Fall River and to have her namesake ship visiting her ‘home’ is a magical moment and a great honor,” Battleship Cove Executive Director Brad King said in a statement.

            The Fall River will be traveling from Newport, Rhode Island, where it will be displayed starting Monday, and from this city will continue to its service in the Pacific, officials said.

            The Fall River is capable of carrying 600 tons for 1,200 nautical miles at speeds of 35 to 40 knots. It holds 312 service members and has a core crew of 22, Navy officials reported.

            “The crew of Fall River is proud to visit their namesake,” said Capt. David Bradshaw, master of the Fall River in a statement released Friday.

            The fleet’s purpose is to enhance global security, according to Navy officials.

            “We value our new relationship with the city and look forward to showcasing one of the Navy’s newest Joint High Speed Vessels during this visit,” Bradshaw said.

            By private invitation, a certain number of guests will be able to ride the vessel, officials said.

            Battleship Cove officials noted the history of the original vessel bearing the city’s name, the USS Fall River. It was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser launched in August 1944 and sponsored by the wife of the mayor of Fall River at the time, Alexander C. Murray. It was commissioned July 1, 1945, and her bow sits at the entrance to Battleship Cove, with signage descriptions of her significance, welcoming some 80,000 visitors a year to the country’s fleet museum.

            Sutter said of the distinctive showcasing: “We are all excited for the USNS to port here in its namesake city. Not only will we be hosting a state of the art Navy vessel that bears our name, but we will also be dedicating a beautiful and moving monument for Gold Star families and welcoming heroic Medal of Honor recipients to our city.

            “We here in Fall River have an immeasurable respect for our military, veterans and our military families, and the USNS Fall River’s will provide us with an opportunity to offer them our due gratitude,” Sutter said in a statement.

            When christened, Naval officials said, its naming recognized the long-established grit and patriotism of Fall River’s citizens.

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            • #7
              The Austal built fast ferry Alakai also known as USNS Puerto Rico, appears to have refit (in Charleston, SC) for ferry service between Portland, Maine and Nova Scotia.



              • #8
                After Spearhead had been back weeks or even longer at Little Creek, Spearhead is in the middle of an "emergency dry docking " in Charleston, SC.
                Last edited by surfgun; 14 Jul 16,, 03:11.


                • #9
                  These are some bad ass boats.
                  "We are all special cases." - Camus


                  • #10
                    Contracts for hulls eleven and twelve have been awarded.



                    • #11
                      Anyone know if they moved forward with replacing the stern ramp with the new improved articulating ramp that ONR developed a couple of years ago for direct ship to ship transfer in higher sea states than was initially practicable?

                      Connected: ONR Ramps Up Support for JHSV

                      May 9, 2014
                      By David Smalley
                      Office of Naval Research
                      One Liberty Center
                      875 N. Randolph Street, Suite 1425
                      Arlington, VA 22203-1995

                      ARLINGTON, Va.— As an M1A1 Abrams tank roared across a giant aluminum ramp, atop a motion simulator that mimicked crashing waves, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) last week completed a successful demonstration of a new lightweight ramp intended for use on the Navy's Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).

                      The advanced ramp would provide significant improvement over the JHSV's current ramp by allowing the loading or unloading of people and combat vehicles—in rougher ocean conditions than are currently possible—between a JHSV and another ship, pier, mobile landing platform or more.

                      "The knowledge we have gained in designing this ramp is going to be vital for successful future deployment of personnel and equipment," said Dr. John Pazik, who heads ONR's Ship Systems and Engineering division. "The Navy and Marine Corps need easy-to-use, lightweight ramps to load and unload materiel in combat or humanitarian situations."

                      The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, told an audience last month that he views a new ramp for the JHSV as an essential element of future JHSV capability.

                      "You are looking at the new 'John the Baptist' of ship-to-shore connectivity," he joked in a speech at an April Sea-Air-Space conference, where he stressed the importance of improved ramps for JHSVs.

                      While the May 1 demonstration, which included a tank and a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck crossing in simulated high-wave conditions, was successful, officials say the future for the ramp is still being decided.

                      "Right now we have a lot of data analysis and reporting to consider," said Dr. Paul Hess, who manages ONR’s Interface Ramp Technologies (IRT) program. "This demonstration ramp met significant engineering challenges in connecting two ships in a simulated seaway, while also allowing a tank, truck and HUMVEE to successfully cross.

                      "This gets us to a place we've never been before, in terms of at-sea transfer of vehicles between ships."

                      Navy officials will receive the results of the analysis this summer, and begin consideration on how to best utilize the knowledge gained. Options include a review of existing ramps, to see if they could be made stronger, using lessons learned from the IRT program; or using the information to pursue an entirely new ramp for the JHSV fleet.

                      In either case, officials said at the demonstration, ONR's work will play a key role in whatever direction is ultimately decided for the JHSV ramp.

                      JHSV is a new class of all-aluminum swift ships, intended to meet requirements for shallow water deployment of personnel, combat vehicles or other supplies and equipment as needed. The vessels can transport approximately 600 tons at an average speed of 35 knots, and are designed to operate in challenging ports and waterways.

                      Officials will use the analysis of the ramp demonstration to help determine ramp requirements for existing JHSVs, as well as for future vessels.

                      The ONR ramp program was done in partnership with the Navy's Strategic Mobility and Combat Logistics office, as well as the Strategic and Theater Sealift program office.
                      Last edited by JRT; 20 Sep 16,, 14:04.


                      • #12
                        In the news...

                        Expeditionary Fast Transport Capabilities

                        April 25, 2018


                        We determined whether the Department of the Navy (Navy) achieved the performance capabilities for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program.


                        The EPF vessel, formerly named the Joint High Speed Vessel, is an aluminum catamaran capable of transferring personnel and cargo. The EPF vessel will be used to transport personnel, supplies, and equipment in support of a wide range of military and civilian contingencies, evacuations, and disaster relief.

                        The Program Executive Office Ships (PEO Ships) manages the design and construction of destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and all Navy non-nuclear surface ships. The Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Office (Program Office) reports to PEO Ships and manages the $2 billion EPF program through vessel delivery. Since 2008, the Navy has purchased 12 EPF vessels from Austal USA. Austal USA is a global defense prime contractor that designs and manufactures commercial and defense ships.

                        As of August 2017, the Navy accepted delivery of eight EPF vessels. Upon acceptance, the Navy transferred the EPF vessels to the Military Sealift Command (MSC). The MSC is responsible for the operation and sustainment of the EPF vessel, including any changes made to the EPF vessel after it is accepted. Austal USA is currently constructing four EPF vessels and expects to deliver the final EPF vessel in FY 2019.

                        Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force (COMOPTEVFOR) is the independent test agency that tests and evaluates the Navy’s warfighting capabilities under realistic operational conditions to determine the systems’ effectiveness, suitability, and impact on mission accomplishment.

                        COMOPTEVFOR completed the initial operational test and evaluation of the EPF program in January 2014. The initial operational test and evaluation is conducted to determine whether systems are operationally effective and suitable. In April 2015, COMOPTEVFOR completed the follow-on operational test and evaluation. The follow-on operational test and evaluation reviews system changes and verifies that the program continues to meet operational needs and retains its effectiveness in new environments or against new threats. During these tests, COMOPTEVFOR identified deficiencies. As part of the verification of deficiencies process, COMOPTEVFOR confirms that deficiencies were corrected.


                        Program Office officials did not achieve the performance capabilities for the EPF program. Specifically, Program Office officials obligated $2 billion for the EPF program; however, the EPF vessel had deficiencies that prevented it from attaining its required performance capabilities, including two key performance parameters—Transport Capability and Net Ready. This occurred because Program Office officials did not demonstrate that they corrected deficiencies identified during low-rate initial production (initial production). Initial production is when a minimum quantity is produced for testing.

                        As a result, Navy officials accepted eight EPF vessels with deficiencies that could prevent the MSC from accomplishing missions. The Navy may also have to spend additional money to achieve the required performance capabilities for EPF vessels that were already provided to the fleet and for future EPF vessels that are still in production.


                        We recommend that the Program Executive Officer, PEO Ships, with assistance from the Program Office, review whether action was taken to correct deficiencies on EPF vessels. If action was taken, PEO Ships should require the Program Office to request COMOPTEVFOR to confirm the correction of deficiencies. If action was not taken, PEO Ships should require the Program Office to implement a plan to correct the deficiencies prior to delivery of the EPF vessels, as appropriate.

                        Additionally, we recommend that the Commander, MSC, identify whether deficiencies on delivered EPF vessels were corrected. If the deficiencies were not corrected, the Commander, MSC, should implement a plan to correct the deficiencies, as appropriate.

                        Management Comments and Our Response:

                        The Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) (ASN [RD&A]), responding for the Program Executive Officer, PEO Ships, and the Commander, MSC, addressed the specifics of the recommendations.

                        The ASN (RD&A) stated that the Navy partially agreed with our recommendations. The Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) agreed to work with the resource manager and the MSC for concurrence on Transport Capability and unrefueled range limitations deficiencies. The Commander, NAVSEA also agreed to conduct further assessments on the rigid hull inflatable boat launch and recovery and the aft mission deck layout. This recommendation is resolved but will remain open. We will close this recommendation when the Program Office demonstrates that the resource sponsor and the MSC accepted the Transport Capability and unrefueled range limitations, and when the Program Office conducts further assessments to resolve the rigid hull inflatable boat launch and recovery and the aft mission deck layout.

                        The ASN (RD&A) stated that the Navy agreed with our recommendation. The Commander, MSC, stated that the MSC will continue to work with PEO Ships and the Program Office to review and implement appropriate corrections in the delivered fleet. This recommendation is resolved but will remain open. We will close this recommendation when the MSC provides documentation to show reviews were conducted and appropriate corrections were implemented in the delivered fleet.


                        • #13
                          Here is the report:

                          Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense
                          April 25, 2018
                          Expeditionary Fast Transport Capabilities

                          Attached Files


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JRT View Post
                            Here is the report:

                            Inspector General, U.S. Department of Defense
                            April 25, 2018
                            Expeditionary Fast Transport Capabilities

                            Sounds like Big Navy is not too worried about any EPF deficiencies. MSC ships never really get a lot of funding anyways.

                            "Yep, we got it. Sorta agreed with your recommendations. Don't call us...."