Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of the Army Pete Geren announced the names of the first three Joint High Speed Vessels as Fortitude (JHSV 1), Vigilant (JHSV 2) and Spearhead (JHSV 3).
A cooperative effort between the Navy and the Army, JHSVs will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, vehicles and equipment. The program highlights a Department of Defense acquisition objective of leveraging the expertise of one military branch to assist another. The Army is procuring Fortitude and Spearhead, while the Navy is procuring Vigilant, and each service will be responsible for operating and maintaining its ships following delivery.
JHSVs will be capable of transporting 700 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. JHSVs will have airline style seating for 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 104 more.
Joint military combatant commanders will have the flexibility to use JHSVs in a variety of roles to include supporting overseas contingency operations, special operations forces, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and emerging joint sea basing concepts.
Constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., the detail, design and construction contract covers 10 ships, five for the Army and five for the Navy. Long lead time material options for the first three ships have already been exercised. Construction on the first JHSV will begin following a successful Production Readiness Review (PRR), currently scheduled for fall 2009. The JHSV PRR will be a review of design maturity, availability of materials and components, and the shipbuilder's readiness to successfully start fabrication.