The US Navy's fourth JHSV

The US Navy has taken delivery of its fourth Spearhead-class joint high-speed vessel (JHSV) USNS Fall River (JHSV 4), following the successful completion of navy acceptance trial testing and assessments in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Austal-built JHSV will join the navy’s existing vessels of the same class and carry out operations worldwide.

US Navy Strategic and Theatre sealift programme manager captain Henry Stevens said: "Today the navy received a tremendous asset.

"The addition of Fall River to the fleet will enhance our forward presence and ability to bolster global security from the sea, by quickly transporting significant resources to a wide array of geographic regions throughout the world in [the] time of need."

Based on a commercial design, the USNS Fall River incorporates military specifications to support diverse missions, including manoeuvre and sustainment, relief operations and flexible logistics support.

Powered by four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines, Fall River can transport up to 600t at 1,200nm, with an average cruising speed of 35k.

"Today the navy received a tremendous asset."

The off-load ramp and flight deck for helicopter operations will further improve port access and support the navy’s missions in littoral areas.

"The speed, cargo capacity and all around flexibility are game changing for military, relief and humanitarian operations," Stevens added.

"The ship’s flight deck, ramp and shallow-draft provide options for employment across a wide spectrum of operations, particularly in austere regions of the world."

Austal, which is building ten JHSV-class ships for the US Navy, is set to launch JHSV 5 in the coming weeks.

Image: USNS Fall River (JHSV 4) during its acceptance trial testing and evaluations in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy.

Defence Technology