Joint High Speed Vessel
A joint project of the United States Army and United States Navy, the Joint High Speed Vessel is a small, high-speed ship that can carry troops, vehicles and supplies among ports and waterways within a theater of operations. With at-sea refueling, it can deploy to any accessible area. It is not a new concept, incidentally, for the Army to operate supply ships for coastal use.
It is not a landing craft and cannot beach itself, although it can operate helicopters to transfer cargo when not at a dock. While it obviously cannot support landlocked operations, when operations take place near water, it gives much more capability than air transports. It can carry 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, with a dash to 45.
JHSV is not a warship and is not expected to withstand combat damage; it will operate either in safe waters or with an escort such as a Littoral Combat Ship. Since the JHSV and LCS are being developed at the same time, there has been some confusion, but, other than being of comparable size and being able to operate in shallow water, they have little else in common. With both the JHSV, the first ships are experimenting with different designs; there are four different JHSV prototypes in operational use.
The JHSV could carry out supporting military functions such as command and control, intelligence, communications, and aviation if the appropriate equipment is installed. It uses non-developmental commercial technology, although it will be faster than most commercial ships.
Both Navy and Army versions will have a crew of 22-40 persons, civilians on Naval JHSV but soldiers on Army vessels. In a passenger version, they have airline style seating for more than 300 passengers and fixed berthing for another 100, or can be configured for cargo. A cargo and passenger configuration could carry an infantry company and its vehicles, while a passenger version could move about half a battalion.