Joint High Speed Vessel

USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), the innovative high-speed catamaran transport ship under construction by shipbuilder Austal in Mobile, Alabama, successfully completed Builder's Sea Trials (BST) on April 19 2012 in the Gulf of Mexico.


The JHSV program is procuring 10 high-speed transport vessels for the US Army and the US Navy. These vessels will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment. The JHSV program merges the previous Army Theater Support Vessel (TSV) and the Navy High Speed Connector (HSC) to decrease costs by taking advantage of the inherent commonality between the existing programs.
This commercially designed, non-combatant vessel leverages Austal's world-leading commercial technology and does not require the development of any new technology. Significant production and financial risks have been avoided by implementing proven technology, ensuring stable requirements, minimizing change and through the ruthless pursuit of cost reduction and efficiency. It is being built to American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) High Speed Naval Craft Guide.
JHSV is capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots. The ships can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-load a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2).
The JHSV includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp is suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in developing countries. JHSV’s shallow draft further enhances littoral operations and port access. This makes the JHSV an extremely flexible asset for support of a wide range of operations including maneuver and sustainment, relief operations in small or damaged ports, flexible logistics support, or as the key enabler for rapid transport.
JHSVs have a core crew of 21 people, with airline style seating for more than 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 146.
Military Sealift Command (MSC) will operate and sustain the JHSVs. JHSV will be allocated via Global Force Management (GFM) for Theater Security Cooperation (TSC), service unique missions, intra-theater sealift, and special missions.