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BLOUNT ISLAND COMMAND TAKES PART IN NEW JOINT HIGH SPEED VESSEL EXPERIMENTATION PROGRAM

By Staff Sgt. Timothy C. Hodge | | December 19, 2001

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On November 29, 2001 Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, FL conducted an assessment and experimentation exercise with the new Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV). Service members from the joint service project evaluated the JHSV's compatibility with the Blount Island port facility and some of the combat vehicles embarked aboard the Marine Corps? Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) vessels.

The JHSV project is a joint effort exploring the concepts and capabilities associated with commercially available advanced hull and propulsion technologies integrated with advanced communications technology.  During the next 12 months, the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and U.S. Special Operations Command will conduct a series of experiments, exercises, demonstrations, and training events utilizing the leased vessel.

The Blount Island exercise tested the capability of the JHSV, HSV-X1 Joint Venture, to moor at a small-craft berth and discharge equipment from the vessel's starboard stern ramp. This phase of the experiment saw the Joint Venture successfully discharge eight Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs) at the Blount Island port facility.

"During this exercise we used AAVs from one of our MPF ships, the SS PLESS, to demonstrate the JHSV's ability to serve as a potential extension of the MPF program," said Maj. Lyle G. Layher, Assistant Operations Officer for Blount Island Command, Jacksonville, FL.

Previous exercises have tested the compatibility of the JHSV with other MPF combat vehicles and the bridge-like sections called lighterage that MPF vessels use as an in-stream platform to ferry cargo and vehicles ashore when deep-water port facilities are not available.

Once completed, the JHSV project will have explored almost every possible use for this unique vessel: personnel, equipment, and supplies insertion; naval expeditionary requirements; reconfiguration options and militarization requirements; survivability, and vulnerability assessment including ship signatures; compatibility with military systems; and maintenance, manning, and operating requirements.

Throughout the next year the JHSV project's partners will continue to explore the concepts and capabilities associated with advanced hull and propulsion technologies.  The project will also be integrating this technology with current operational concepts.  The exercises will ultimately reveal and define many of the future military requirements that a craft of this type will be able to fill. They will also significantly reduce the normal timeline to place a new ship into the fleet by developing operating concepts and doctrine before the ship is put into military service.



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