I can’t speak for other people, but when I hear “JHSV” it makes me feel like a young kid at a birthday party getting ready to open all the presents – I can’t wait to see and try each and every one. It seems like the possibilities are endless for new discoveries, new possibilities and new learning.
We’ve taken delivery of the first four Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSV) – USNS Spearhead, USNS Choctaw County, USNS Millinocket and USNS Fall River. Spearhead successfully completed the first leg of its maiden deployment to our U.S. 6th Fleet and deployed on the second part of that deployment to Central and South America. Choctaw County has been visited and toured by tens of thousands of visitors ranging from the Secretary of the Navy to members of the USO. Millinocket has already been used as a model platform for our Navy’s new electromagnetic rail gun. Fall River is completing final preparations to go fully operational. For a ship class that’s pretty much brand new, this record is extraordinary.
Our JHSV is an amazing cargo hauler, able to travel at 35+ knots for long distances carrying up to 600 tons of wheeled and tracked vehicles that come aboard using a large stern ramp. Airline-style passenger seats allow up to 300 troops to embark. Berthing for up to 100 people is available. Add to this a shallow draft of 15 feet and you’ve got austere port capability. And we get all of this at a reasonable cost.
It’s fun to explore what this amazing ship can do. Just ask civilian mariner (CIVMAR) Capt. Doug Casavant, master of USNS Spearhead, who talked about the future when, “we’ll be able to say we’re among the ones who paved the way for this platform. It’s exciting to be part of something new!”
Our JHSVs combine high-speed, agile-lift capability with a 20,000-square foot mission bay that can quickly be reconfigured for a wide range of missions, including sustainment, humanitarian assistance and special operations support. The ship’s flight deck is certified to handle a wide variety of aircraft, including a CH-53 Super Stallion. This flexibility means quicker, more effective response to mission tasking. Fleet commanders around the world are very interested in “having one of their own JHSVs.”
During our recent Rim of the Pacific exercise series, USNS Millinocket demonstrated the capability of integrated operations with our mobile landing platform, USNS Montford Point, and one of our large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships, USNS Bob Hope, that will turn sea basing into reality for our Navy and Marine Corps.
Our JHSVs also share a common strength with the rest of our Navy – the dedicationand expertise of our crews. Twenty-two civil service mariners serve aboard each JHSV. They are skilled maritime professionals with years, sometimes decades, of hands-on seagoing experience. Our CIVMARs are the core of MSC’s readiness.
As MSC takes delivery of more of these amazing ships, we are entering a new era of service to our Navy and our nation, an era limited only by our collective imaginations. It’s an exciting future that I, for one, can’t wait to see!
Thanks for your service,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander, Military Sealift Command