Solomon Shorter writes:
Many commentators contend that the Littoral Combat Ship will fill a void in America’s Naval Warfare policy position. It will move rapidly to distant shores, provide in close fire support, limited aviation support, and be capable of inserting, supporting and extracting special operations personnel. Problem is, many consider it too lightly armed (the Israelis want one but will add weapon systems to their ships), has too small a crew and provides no upgrade over existing ships. In steps the JHSV, that the Navy recently contracted with Austal USA for 10 ships.
Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV)
The JHSV is capable of transporting troops and their equipment, supporting humanitarian relief efforts, operating in shallow waters and reaching speeds in excess of 35 knots fully loaded. The vessels will be a joint-use platform between the United States Army and Navy.
Client: US Department of Defence
Hull Type: Catamaran
This delivery is a work in progress.
Length: 103 metre
Speed: More than 35 knots
Draft : 3.8m. Superior Draft for Austere Port Access
Range : 1200nm at 35knots
Payload : 635MT
Crew Accommodations : Embarked troop berthing for 150 troops and airline style seating for 312 Troops at 5.25 ft seating pitch
Aviation Capability : CH-53E capable flight deck
Loading Ramp : Proven Austere Loading Ramp Arrangement. Supports M1A2 Abrams tanks
Mission Deck : Open Unobstructed Mission Deck. Usable Cargo Area of more than 1800 m2 (Clear height of 4.75 m and turning diameter of 26.21 m)
Fuel Consumption : Superior Fuel Efficiency to reduce operating costs. Proven MTU 8000 engines as used on LCS and Hawaii Superferry
Motion Control : Superior Motion Characteristics. Active motion control system with 4 control surfaces
(courtesy AUSTAL USA)
The JHSV accomplishes every mission that the LCS is capable with the exception of fire support. In many ways that mission is better performed by other platforms and the US’ orientation toward soft power exercises (especially in South America) will be the ultimate proving ground for vessels of this type. Its high transit speed makes it very enticing as a rapid transport for the Army’s Air Assault Expeditionary Force, Stryker Brigades, and Marine Expeditionary Units. Instead of a piecemeal arrival of forces, the JHSV will allow complete unit insertion for whatever the need may be-either humanitarian assistance or preventative war operations.
(All images courtesy of Austal USA)
More information on Austal USA: http://www.austal.com/
Brochure on the JHSV: http://www.austal.com/files/delivery/JHSV-11x171.pdf
And info on the city where the JHSV will be built, Mobile, Alabama (of tanker fame…how do they attract all these companies?): http://www.cityofmobile.org/