NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The Navy's first joint high-speed vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), made a brief stop at Naval Station Mayport Feb. 14 to introduce the ship to Commander, U.S. 4th Fleet on its way to its new homeport in Little Creek, Va.
The port call is an opportunity for senior officials and military personnel from U.S. 4th Fleet to visit the ship and receive capability briefings for future operational planning.
Spearhead is scheduled to deploy to the 4th Fleet area of operations to support upcoming Southern Partnership Station deployments.
"The joint high-speed vessel Spearhead is a perfect match for 4th Fleet and we plan to use it across all of our lines of operations; security cooperation activities, maritime security operations and contingency operations," Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet, Rear Adm. Sinclair M. Harris said.
U.S. 4th Fleet's area of operations includes the maritime domains in South and Central America as well as the Caribbean Sea.
"Spearhead is critically important to Fourth Fleet's area of operations because of her shallow draft and ability to work in more austere ports that traditional warships might not be able to. We see the high speed vessels as even more capable in terms of reaching out to our partner nations," Harris said.
Spearhead is the first of 10 planned joint high speed vessels under contract to be built. The next ship, USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2), is scheduled to be operational later this year.
Built in Mobile, Ala., by Austal U.S.A., USNS Spearhead is designed for rapid, intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) owns and operates Spearhead, along with the nine other JHSVs that are currently under contract. Spearhead is a 338-foot long aluminum catamaran designed for speed, flexibility and maneuverability.
The reconfigurable 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be quickly adapted to support a number of different missions - anything from carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief to transporting tanks and troops. Spearhead's crew of 22 civil service mariners works for MSC which operates, navigates and maintains the ship. JHSVs are capable of transporting approximately 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and are designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, providing added flexibility to U.S. warfighters worldwide.
U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.