The Navy will christen the joint high speed vessel (JHSV) Spearhead Sept. 17, at 10 a.m. CDT in Mobile, Ala.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama will deliver the commissioning ceremony's principal address. Retired Army Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth Wahlman, will serve as the ship's sponsor. His daughter Catherine, a staff sergeant in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps at Virginia Tech University, will assist her father in the christening.
The 338 foot-long aluminum catamaran is being constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. Spearhead and the nine other JHSVs under contract allow intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, supplies and equipment. They are capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. Joint high speed vessels' aviation flight decks can support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. This platform can berth up to 146 personnel and provides airline-style seating for up to 312.
Military commanders will have the flexibility to use the JHSV in a variety of roles, including supporting overseas contingency operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts and special operations forces and maintaining emerging joint sea-basing concepts.
Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), Spearhead will be designated as a United States naval ship. It will have a core crew of 21 civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship. The first four JHSVs - including Spearhead - will be crewed by federally employed civil service mariners, and the remaining six will be crewed by civilian contract mariners working for private shipping companies under contract to MSC. Military mission personnel will embark as required by the mission sponsors.
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