The keel has been laid for the US Navy’s Spearhead-class joint high-speed vessel (JHSV), the future USNS Trenton (JHSV 5), during a ceremony held at Austal US shipyard.
The keel laying ceremony of USNS Trenton marks the first significant milestone in the JHSV 5 delivery programme.
Strategic and theatre sealift programme manager PEO Captain Henry Stevens said: "I want to thank our shipbuilders who are working so hard, from each keel laying to each delivery, to ensure the Navy receives the strongest, most flexible and capable ships possible."
USNS Trenton can conduct missions including rapid transport of troops, equipment and supplies over operational distances, in support of a variety of missions including manoeuvre and sustainment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Capable of transporting 600t of military cargo 1,200nm at an average speed of 35k, the JHSV 5 features an off-load ramp and a flight deck, and has a shallow draft of less than 15ft.
Owned and operated by Military Sealift Command (MSC) operating within MSC’s sealift programme, the ship has been named to honour the men and women of the city, as well as the state of New Jersey.
Powered by four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines, the ship is 103m-long and has displacement capacity of 2,400t, and can accommodate a crew of 22 civil service mariners with military mission personnel embarking as required.