The fourth Austal USA Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) completed its Military Sealift Command (MSC) acceptance trials in the Gulf of Mexico, Naval Sea Systems Command announced on Friday.
USNS Fall River (JHSV-4) trials were overseen by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) ahead of a final round of testing later this year and of acceptance into MSC.
“Each ship of this class leverages lessons learned from previously delivered vessels,” said Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager Capt. Henry Stevensin the NAVSEA statement. “JHSV 4 is no exception – and completion of these trials is a testament to the program’s stability and maturity.”
The aluminum catamarans were originally developed as a joint program with the Army to create high-speed connectors for troops and material with an eye toward the Pacific.
MSC eventually took over the ten ship, $2.5 billion program.
JHSVs have a range of 1,200 nautical miles, can transport up to 600 tons of troops and material and can cruise at 35 kts. The ships are operated by a crew of 22 MSC civilians.
The first ship, USNS Spearhead (JHSV-1), was accepted last year and has, “conducted maritime security operations in the Mediterranean Sea, participated in multinational maritime exercises, conducted a bi-lateral maritime law enforcement operation, and delivered more than 22.5 tons of humanitarian supplies,” according to NAVSEA.
JHSVs will also be deployed in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility as an adjunct to the U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) ongoing drug interdiction missions.
The third JHSV, USNS Millinocket (JHSV-3), took part in the ongoing Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014 maritime exercises.