The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has successfully demonstrated a new ramp designed for use on the US Navy's joint high speed vessel (JHSV).
The demonstration involved a tank and a heavy expanded mobility tactical truck passing in simulated high-wave conditions.
Offering a significant improvement over the JHSV's existing ramp, the new one allows the transporting of individuals and combat vehicles between a JHSV and another vessel.
ONR ship systems and engineering division head Dr John Pazik said that the knowledge gained in designing the ramp will be vital for successful future deployment of personnel and equipment.
"The Navy and Marine Corps need easy to use lightweight ramps to load and unload materiel in combat or humanitarian situations," Pazik said.
ONR interface ramp technologies (IRT) programme manager Dr Paul Hess said that the latest 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," Hess said.
Upon obtaining results of the analysis this summer, ONR will start considering ways to best use the knowledge gained, with options including reviewing existing ramps and see if they could be made stronger; or using the gained knowledge to develop a completely new ramp for the JHSV fleet.
JHSV is the new class of all-aluminum swift ships that are built to meet the navy's requirements for shallow water deployment of personnel, combat vehicles or other supplies and equipment whenever needed.
Designed to operate in challenging ports and waterways, the vessels can carry around 600t while cruising at an average speed of 35k.
Image: USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1) during sea trials. Photo: courtesy of US navy.