The USA’s JHSV Fast Catamaran Ships
Secretary of the Navy names JHSV 5. Wait… didn’t they do that in April 2013?
Sept 26/14: Naming. “Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the next joint high speed vessel (JHSV) will be named USNS Trenton during a ceremony in Trenton, New Jersey, Sept. 25.” Um, OK. Trenton, which is still under construction, was publicly named by the Secretary of the Navy on April 12/13 (q.v.) Sources: US Navy, “SECNAV Names the Next Joint High Speed Vessel”.
April 12/13: Naming. 3 JHSV ships are among the 7 named by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who actually stuck to class naming conventions this time instead of veering into political partisanship.
JHSV 5 will become USNS Trenton, after New Jersey’s capital city. JHSV 6 will become USNS Brunswick, after the seaport in Georgia. JHSV 7 will become USNS Carson City, after Nevada’s capital city. Pentagon, “Secretary of the Navy Names Multiple Ships”.
When moving whole units, shipping is always the cheaper, higher-capacity option. Slow speed and port access are the big issues, but what if ship transit times could be cut sharply, and full-service ports weren’t necessary? After Australia led the way by using what amounted to fast car ferries for military operations, the US Army and Navy decided to give it a go. Both services leased Incat TSV/HSV wave-piercing catamaran ship designs, while the Marines’ charged ahead with very successful use of Austal’s Westpac Express high-speed catamaran. These Australian-designed ships all give commanders the ability to roll on a company with full gear and equipment (or roll on a full infantry battalion if used only as a troop transport), haul it intra-theater distances at 38 knots, then move their shallow draft safely into austere ports to roll them off.
Their successful use, and continued success on operations, attracted favorable comment and notice from all services. So favorable that the experiments have led to a $3+ billion program called the Joint High Speed Vessel. These designs may even have uses beyond simple ferrying and transport.
The JHSV Ships
The JHSV Program
Supplements: From Leased to Bought
Contracts & Key Events
FY 2011 – 2012
FY 2009 – 2010
FY 2005 – 2008
Appendix A: The US Military’s HSV/TSV Experience
Additional Readings & Sources
JHSV and its Relatives
News & Views
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