Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV)

USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), the US Navy’s first Spearhead-class joint high-speed vessel (JHSV) has successfully completed its initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) end-to-end event.

During the testing, USNS Spearhead demonstrated its capabilities such as maritime missions, replenishment, SH-60S helicopter deck landing and night-flight operations and qualifications, communication systems certification, and simulated damage control and evacuation events.

The vessel has also demonstrated other capabilities, including Bell Boeing-built MV-22 Osprey aircraft landing, vertical replenishment, and launch and recovery of two 11m rigid hull inflatable boats.

The trials involved representatives from Military Sealift Command, NAVSEA, Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force, Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity, Joint Interoperability Test Command, and Director of Operational Test and Evaluation.

Program Executive Office (PEO) strategic and theater sealift programme manager captain Henry Stevens said, "JHSV performed well during IOTE, informing fleet introduction of JHSV 1."

In early August, the Austal-built vessel underwent a 96-hour endurance evaluation with payload and 280 embarked Marines to assess key performance parameters regarding distance and speed.

As part of IOT&E, the total ship survivability trial (TSST) has also been carried out, involving three simulated damage control events at-sea and in-port, concluding in a ship evacuation.

The 338ft-long aluminum catamaran warship, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) is powered by four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines driving four Wartsila WLD 1400 SR waterjets through four ZF 60000NR2H reduction gears.

Capable of accommodating a crew of 42, the vessel will be deployed for transportation of troops, military vehicles, cargo and equipment, even in shallow-draft ports and waterways, for a range of global missions.

USNS Spearhead is scheduled to undergo post-shakedown availability later this month, while the JHSV programme’s initial operational capability is expected later this year.

Image: US Navy’s Spearhead-class vessel USNS Spearhead sailing at sea. Photo: Image courtesy of US Navy.

Defence Technology