JHSV 1 completes IOT&E test schedule

spearheadOCTOBER 11, 2013 — The Navy's first Joint High Speed Vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), has successfully completed its Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) end-to-end event, NAVSEA announced Oct. 3.

U.S. Navy photograph

The vessel was delivered by shipbuilder Austal USA on December 6, 2012 and this latest test was the last event in the JHSV program's IOT&E schedule, a series of post-delivery test and trials designed to determine the operational effectiveness and suitability of the JHSV program.

Austal CEO Andrew Bellamy said the successful performance of JHSV 1 during operational testing demonstrated Austal’s ability to deliver high-quality defense vessels to the Navy.

"The operational tests were the last major milestone JHSV 1 had to complete prior to being added to the US Navy’s fleet and commencing missions," Mr. Bellamy said.

Representatives from Military Sealift Command, NAVSEA, Commander Operational Test and Evaluation Force, Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity, Joint Interoperability Test Command, and Director of Operational Test and Evaluation participated in the end-to-end event.

"Our close cooperation with the Marine Corps demonstrated a realistic testing environment in order to evaluate the ship's performance in meeting program requirements," said Capt. Henry Stevens, strategic and theater sealift program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "JHSV performed well during IOTE, informing fleet introduction of JHSV 1."

Spearhead and its crew demonstrated multiple capabilities over the course of testing, including maritime operations, replenishment, meal preparation and sustainment, SH-60S helicopter deck landing and night-flight operations and qualifications, communication systems certification, and simulated damage control and evacuation events. Additional evaluations featured a MV-22 Osprey, vertical replenishment and launch and recovery of two 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats.

Nine humvees, 11 amphibious assault vehicles, three medium tactical vehicle replacements and six light armored vehicles, along with 12 quadruple containers and other cargo were loaded on JHSV 1 - providing approximately 600 tons of cargo to support an endurance run. Spearhead completed a 96-hour endurance evaluation with this payload, along with 280 embarked Marines, in early August in order to assess key performance parameters regarding distance and speed.

The Total Ship Survivability Trial (TSST) was also conducted as part of IOT&E for the first time. The test consisted of three simulated damage control events at-sea and in-port, culminating in a ship evacuation. The ship's crew and embarked Marines evacuated Spearhead in just over 15 minutes - more than two minutes faster than the ABS standard for vessels of Spearhead's size and type.

Spearhead will next enter its post-shakedown availability later this month. Initial Operational Capability for the JHSV program is expected later this year.