When you scan over it fast – it is really just a small transport, right? For such a small ship with such a humble mission – JHSV continues to bring a lot of interest. Why?

Along with co-host and fellow USNIBlogg’r EagleOne, we hosted a panel discussion this weekend focused on just one thing; the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV).

To discuss this curious little ship for the full hour, we brought together John Patch, CDR USN Ret., Associate Professor of Strategic Intelligence at the US Army War College’s Center for Strategic Leadership, and “Leesea” a former SWO who has managed sealift ships for the Military Sealift Command since 1980 to include the original charter of the HSV WestPac Express.

Why do we need JHSV, what requirement does it meet? How is the program from a manning, shipbuilding, and development perspective viewed? What missions can/should it do and how should it be armed, if at all?

Grab a fresh cup of coffee, and click here to give it a listen and help us ponder.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Marine Corps
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  • Byron

    As a yardbird the only thing I can think of when I see that all-aluminum boat is employment opportunities.

  • Scott B.

    Byron Says: “As a yardbird the only thing I can think of when I see that all-aluminum boat is employment opportunities.”

    Morticians also see that überexpensive all-aluminum thingy as employment opportunities…

  • sid

    How long will it be before the spiffy powerpoints pop up with a JHSV festooned with guns and missiles?



    I had experience dealing with the WESTPAC EXPRESS on numerous occaisions and we always kept the ABS inspector and ABS certified welder on speed dial. Having said that, we called them routinely for every sealift ship that visited as well as every naval auxillary. When you compare to C-130s, they are both faster (I know hard to believe but true for shorter missions, say anything under 1200nm) and vastly cheaper.

    @Scott B.,
    Why is an aluminum transport any worse than a steel one? Fast ferries have been used for years without safety issues.

    Its important to remember that this is not a warship, it is a theater transport. And as a theater transport it more than justifies its existence. There are numerous places it will be used on routine missions and save a fortune.

    For instance, in Hawaii the Army has the 25th ID on Oahu and the training ranges on the big island. With a couple of JHSVs, this problem goes away. What used to be a expensive, long drawn out process becomes easy, faster, and the people move with their equipment in road ready condition.

    The USMC forces in Okinawa were mentioned but its not just IIIMEF, you also have Air Force, Army and Navy personnel throughout Japan, Korea, and other areas in the far East that could move cheaper, easier, and probably faster by ship. Even within Korea, it is probably easier to move a lot of Army and Air Force stuff by theater sealift as opposed to rail move. Look at Pusan to Pyeongteak. Drive off the ship, drive on the JHSV, sail to Pyeongteak in about a day, drive off to Camp Humphries. Compare that to how many people it takes to move the same unit by rail and bus/air or by road march not to mention the reduced chance of negative civil-military interaction.

    In OIF, the port capacity at Kuwait was extremely limited and their were NEW issues. With even a handfull of JHSVs available, you could have an APOD/SPOD and RSOI in the UAE and then move ready forces direct to Kuwait. They could roll out of the port immediately, no RSOI required. You overcome your port limitations by moving your SPOD out of the immediate area making it safer as well.

    It can do a lot of things because it is pretty cheap to operate compared to air transport. While it can also be used for a range of other missions the bottomline is it is a very capable theater lift asset.

  • Jay

    USNVO — concur. This vessel makes sense in a lot of areas. The JHSV will have more capability (flight deck, etc.) than the HSV (essentially, a very. fast. bus.). I don’t know if we need all 10…however, sometimes roles come & are understood as you develop the tools. These make sense in short-haul areas (Caribbean, some areas of PACOM, intra-theatre log runs, etc.).

    I will repeat myself (at the risk of boring you all) — would LOVE to see 2-4 of these designed/built or modified as small hospital/clinic vessels.

  • Byron

    As someone who has made a tiddly living from repairing aluminum, there’s a LOT I can say wrong about it. For starters, it’s more expensive to do repairs from every standpoint you can think of. The material is at least 4 to 5 times as expensive as steel, the welding requirements are on another plateau from steel, the NDT truly sucks, and you have to jump through all sorts of containment hoops in order to get a good weld.

    That’s before we get to cracking, as aluminum will do on virtually every ship built without an expansion joint. And as soon as NAVSEA starts having to pay for aluminum weld repairs they’ll invoke that nasty little thing called “critical weld” requirements on the repairs.

    This I know because I live it every day.


    I agree completely, but a all steel fast ferry doesn’t really make much sense from a payload/speed standpoint and composite would be way to expensive. Commercial fast ferries are almost always aluminum and so far they have served well (at least they remain in service (outside Hawaii) and their numbers continue to grow). And yes, the aluminum welders make a fortune off the commercial fast ferries as well.

  • Byron

    The differnce is that the commercial world can factor in the cost of the repairs into the fees; the Navy cannot do that. It’s all sunk costs.