Little Creek to be home to new Navy transport ship

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WVEC.com

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 13 at 12:01 PM

NORFOLK -- The Navy's first Joint High-Speed Vessel for troop transport will call Hampton Roads home.  

USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) will arrive at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story on Saturday afternoon.

The 338-foot aluminum catamaran is designed to quickly move troops and military equipment but it has humanitarian uses, too.

"We can provide disaster relief for humanitarian missions. A lot of things still need to be figured out. Not so much that we don't understand the ship but that the capabilities of this are so great and so flexible that we're able to do a lot of different missions just from this single platform, depending on how the mission is configured," said Captain Douglas Casavant.

This class of ship can move about 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knot.

"It feels like a normal ship when we're going slow, and when we're going slow that's 22, 23 knots, that's our economical cruising speed. But when we're going fast it feels very much like you're flying in an airplane," Capt. Casavant added.

Spearhead, which spent several days in St. Petersburg, Florida for tours by leaders at MacDill Air Force Base and Central Command, has a crew of 22 civil service mariners.

The Navy will eventually operate 10 Joint High Speed Vessels. The nine others are contracted for construction in Mobile, Ala., by Austal U.S.A.

Associated Press contributed to this story.

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