Incat has confirmed a contract for with the U.S. Military. Military Sealift Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting arm that will lease the craft from Bollinger/Incat USA, LLC, Lockport, La., to support U.S. Navy Mine Warfare Command
The contract comes just three weeks after the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) announced the lease of their first Theater Support Vessel TSV –1X Spearhead (Incat hull 060) for the Army from Bollinger/Incat USA.
The craft will be developed from a part built commercial vessel (Incat Hull 061) currently under construction at the Hobart, Tasmania shipyard with delivery of the vessel to Ingleside, Texas in June, 2003.
Incat’s U.S. Military Project Manager Nick Wells said: “Once commissioned, the vessel is expected to serve as an interim replacement for the US Navy Mine Countermeasure support ship Inchon
. The craft will also serve as a platform to conduct a series of limited objective experiments, exercises, demonstrations and training events determined by the Navy Warfare Development Command and the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.”
The ship will be capable of maintaining an average speed of 35 knots or greater, loaded with 500 short tons, consisting of 350 personnel and military equipment. A minimum operating range of 1100 nautical miles at 35 knots, is required by the contract, as is a minimum transit range of 4000 nautical miles at an average speed of 20 knots. Furthermore, she must be capable of 24-hour operations at slow speeds (3-10 knots) for small boat and helicopter operations.
A stern ramp capable of on/off loading directly astern or to the starboard quarter will be fitted. The ramp will be capable of loading/unloading a multitude of military vehicles up to and including battle tanks of up to 140,000 lbs. The ramp will also be capable of launch and recovery of amphibious assault vehicles. To achieve this the ramp tip end will be submerged allowing the amphibious vehicles to drive on and off.
The ship will also be capable of launching and recovery of small boats and unmanned vehicles up to 23,000 lbs. while underway.
The vessel will also be fitted with a NAVAIR certified helicopter deck for operation of MH-60S, CH-46, UH-1 and AH-1 helicopters. An area protected from the weather for storage and maintenance of two MH-60S helicopters will be provided as will a Carriage Stream Tow and Recovery System (CSTARS). This helo deck will have the capacity to transfer equipment up to 6000 lbs. to and from the vehicle deck.