The U.S. Navy’s first joint high-speed vessel departed Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Ft. Story in Virginia Thursday on its maiden deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) is expected to remain in U.S. 6th Fleet until May 2014 and sail to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility through the end of fiscal year 2014. While deployed, the ship will undergo planned experimentation and testing to determine the ship’s capabilities.
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“The JHSV ship class will play an important part in the future of our joint forces in terms of affordability, flexibility, speed and agility,” said Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command. “Its performance to-date is solid and I think its first deployment will offer us a great opportunity to further demonstrate the important capabilities this new class brings to our fleet.”
The 338-foot-long aluminum catamarans are designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable, even in shallow waters, making them ideal for transporting troops and equipment quickly within a theater of operations.
“I think the ship will do very well when it joins the fleet. It keeps expanding upon its own capabilities. It’s every bit as flexible as expected, if not more,” said Capt. Douglas Casavant, Spearhead’s civil service master.
The USNS Spearhead, along with future JHSVs, is owned and operated by Military Sealift Command and is crewed by 22 civil service mariners working for MSC who will operate, navigate and maintain the ship.
“Like any of our Navy’s ships, one of Spearhead’s real strengths is its crew,” said Lederer. “This deployment represents an exciting new chapter in warfighter support, and we look forward to learning what Spearhead can do as the ship stretches its legs.”