Mobile September 15, 2014 - The Navy accepted delivery of Joint High Speed Vessel, the future USNS Fall River from the Austal USA shipbuilder, Sept. 15.
The delivery marks a major milestone, the official transfer of the vessel from the shipbuilder to the Navy. USNS Fall River is the U.S. Navy's fourth Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).
"Today the Navy received a tremendous asset," said Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager Capt. Henry Stevens. "The addition of Fall River to the fleet will enhance our forward presence and ability to bolster global security from the sea by quickly transporting significant resources to a wide array of geographic regions throughout the world in time of need."
Joint High Speed Vessels are versatile, non-combatant transport ships built from a commercial design with limited modifications for military use. These ships enable the fast, intra-theater transport of troops, military vehicles and equipment. Each JHSV is capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.
The unique characteristics of JHSVs include a versatile off-load ramp and flight deck for helicopter operations. This further enhances port access and the Navy's operations in littoral areas.
The USNS Fall River has a core crew of 22 civilian mariners who operate and navigate the ship as part of the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. The ship is designed to be used in support of a variety of different missions.
"The speed, cargo capacity and all around flexibility are game changing for military, relief, and humanitarian operations," said Stevens. "The ship's flight deck, ramp and shallow-draft provide options for employment across a wide spectrum of operations, particularly in austere regions of the world."
Delivery of Fall River follows the completion of its builder's and acceptance trials in July. The program continues to progress with JHSV 5's launch which is expected to occur in the coming weeks. All ten ships of the JHSV class are under contract with Austal USA.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Delivering high-quality war fighting assets - while balancing affordability and capability - is key to supporting the Navy's Maritime Strategy.