The future USNS Choctaw County (JHSV 2) launched Oct. 1, in Mobile, Ala., marking a key milestone in the ship's construction process.
JHSV 2 is a versatile, non-combatant, transport ship that will be used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment. Austal USA built the ship, and it is the second of a 10-ship program.
"As only the second ship of the Spearhead class, JHSV 2's launch represents an important early success for the entire program," said Capt. Henry Stevens, strategic and theater sealift program manager. "Choctaw County is already building on lessons learned from JHSV 1 and is more complete than her predecessor at launch."
JHSVs are designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use. These vessels can transport 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. The ships also have an aviation flight deck to support day and night air vehicle launch and recovery operations. JHSVs have berthing space for up to 146 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.
Choctaw County is named for three U.S. counties, located in Mississippi, Alabama and Oklahoma, which share the same name. Upon delivery to the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC), JHSV 2 will be designated as a U.S. naval ship and will have a core crew of 21 civilian mariners who will operate and navigate the ship. The first four ships, including Choctaw County, will be crewed by federally-employed civil service mariners. 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.
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 nation's maritime strategy.
Source: US Navy
Date: Oct 3, 2012