Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) 2, the future USNS Choctaw County, conducted builder’s sea trials March 7-8, in Mobile, Ala.
The ship, now under construction at Austal USA, is the second ship of the JHSV class.
Builder’s trials are a significant step in the construction and delivery of a ship to the fleet and are the first opportunity to operate the ship underway and test overall system performance prior to demonstration to the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey.
“JHSV 2 is the second ship in this class to go through rigorous builder’s trials testing,” said Strategic and Theater Sealift Program Manager Capt. Henry Stevens. “At this stage, JHSV 2 is more complete than the lead ship, and we are benefitting from JHSV 1’s lessons learned. This was the first step in preparing the ship for acceptance trials and delivery later this year.”
Trials included operating the ship’s propulsion plant for many hours at different power levels, up to full power; testing and calibration of communication and navigational systems; ride control systems testing; and pollution control systems tests. Maneuverability trials tested the ship’s four steerable water jets while a series of high-speed turns demonstrated the stability and agility of JHSV’s catamaran hull form. The ship reached speeds of more than 41 knots.
Next, Austal will complete any required corrective actions required in preparation for acceptance trials, planned in the coming weeks. Choctaw County is expected to deliver to the Navy this summer. JHSVs are versatile, non-combatant, transport ships used for fast intra-theater transportation of troops, military vehicles, and equipment.
JHSV is designed to commercial standards, with limited modifications for military use. The vessel is capable of transporting 600 short tons 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots and can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interfacing with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-loading a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2).
Other joint requirements include an aviation flight deck to support day and night aircraft launch and recovery operations. JHSV 2 will have airline style seating for 312 embarked forces with fixed berthing for 104.
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 Navy’s Maritime Strategy.