Navy’s first joint high-speed vessel, the USNS Spearhead, dropping anchor in St. Pete today

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The Navy’s first Joint High-Speed Vessel, USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), is scheduled to visit the Port of Saint Petersburg beginning today.  The ship will remain in port until its departure Tuesday afternoon. The port call is primarily a working visit and an opportunity for senior officials and military personnel from U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command to visit the ship and receive short briefings on Spearhead’s capabilities. 

“I am pleased that the USNS Spearhead, the first in a new class of ships, will make its first official port visit in St. Petersburg this weekend,” said U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.  “The Spearhead affords our nation’s military leadership a new ability to quickly transport troops, equipment and supplies where they are most needed, anywhere in the world,” he said. “This will be a working visit by the crew of the Spearhead and one of the primary reasons for its stop here is to allow our leaders of Special Operations Command and Central Command to come from their headquarters at MacDill Air Force Base to see this new ship and better understand its unique capabilities.” 

Mayor Bill Foster said, “St. Petersburg is known as a city of firsts with an eye to the future and by hosting this new ship’s first official port visit, we demonstrate our support of the military and its commitment to safeguarding our country now and into the future.” 

The Navy will eventually operate 10 Joint High Speed Vessels in support of regional combatant commanders around the world.

Built in Mobile, Alabama by Austal U.S.A., USNS Spearhead is designed for rapid, intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment. The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command owns and operates Spearhead, along with the nine other JHSV’s that are currently under contract. Spearhead is a 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran designed for speed, flexibility and maneuverability. The reconfigurable 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be quickly adapted to support a number of different missions – anything from carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief to transporting tanks and troops. Spearhead’s crew of 22 civil service mariners works for MSC which operates, navigates and maintains the ship. JHSVs are capable of transporting approximately 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots, and are designed to operate in austere ports and waterways, providing added flexibility to U.S. warfighters worldwide.

Due to space limitations and safety concerns, the Navy is unable to host general public tours during Spearhead’s brief visit to St. Petersburg.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.