Was passing through Mobile and saw this outside of Austal’s docks. The 418-foot long Independence-class (PCU) USS Coronado (LCS-4) and the 337-foot long Spearhead class Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2) which was originally ordered as the US Army Ship Vigilant.
Both are under construction.
Coronado is set to commission this year and will be the second LCS to feature a high-speed trimaran hull and will be designed to (hopefully) defeat littoral threats and provide access in coastal waters for missions such as mine hunting, naval special warfare support, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare.
Specs when finished of Coronado :
Displacement: 2,176 tons light, 2,784 tons full, 608 tons deadweight
Length: 127.4 m (418 ft)
Beam: 31.6 m (104 ft)
Draft: 13 ft (3.96 m)
Propulsion: 2× gas turbines, 2× diesel, 4× waterjets, retractable Azimuth thruster, 4× diesel generators
Speed: 40+ knots, 47 knots (54 mph; 87 km/h) sprint
Range: 4,300 nm at 20+ knots
Capacity: 210 tonnes
Complement: 40 core crew (8 officers, 32 enlisted) plus up to 35 mission crew
Sea Giraffe 3D Surface/Air RADAR
Bridgemaster-E Navigational RADAR
AN/KAX-2 EO/IR sensor for GFC
EDO ES-3601 ESM
4× SRBOC rapid bloom chaff launchers
BAE Systems Mk 110 57 mm gun
4× .50-cal guns (2 aft, 2 forward)
Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher
modular Mission modules
2× MH-60R/S Seahawks
MQ-8 Fire Scout
The JHSV was originally ordered by the US Army (yes, they have ships too) to transport U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps company-sized units with their vehicles to forward areas ‘intratheather’. This is soft power” missions — responding to natural disasters, providing humanitarian assistance, conducting port visits and training partner military forces, among others. Its based on the Hawaiian Superferry. Since its built to commercial standards (its aluminum), manned by civilians(operated by the Military Sealift Command -MSC), has neither a well deck nor a landing ship bow ramp, and is unarmed (well there are four mounts for M2/Mk19/M240 style crewserved weapons if needed), its not capable of making ampibious assaults on hostile beaches. However it IS capable of everything but and the idea is that it will free up legit Ampibs for that purpose while it handles the light duty ‘operations other than war’ stuff in what is termed today as ‘permissive environments’. Of course it a situation like off the Somali coast, it could be used with CRRC type rubber boats with marines aboard, or SWCC guys in fast boats with frogmen.
But then again, look at what happened to the civilian crewed and unarmed RFA Sir Tristain and RFA Sir Galahad (both the same general size as the JHSV) in the Falklands . Hopefully the big blue will keep these JHSVs out of harms way as a lesson from 1982.
Specs when finished of USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2)
Tonnage: 1,515 tonnes
Length: 103.0 m (337 ft 11 in)
Beam: 28.5 m (93 ft 6 in)
Draft: 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in) — that’s pretty shallow
Can turn in an 86 foot diameter
Propulsion: Four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines with Four ZF 60000NR2H reduction gears (waterjets, not props)
Speed: 43 knots balls out. (35 when fully loaded)
Range = 1200 nm
Troop Capacity = 312 seated airline style seats and 144 berths that can be rotated for long trips
Weight/cargo Capacity = 635 tons in a 20,053 square feet cargo area which could carry 280 cars, Abrams tanks, or 6 shipping containers with a loading ramp that can support the M1.
Crew = 22 MSC civilian mariners plus 17 USN commo/support
Cost = $250M each, $2.5B program
Aircraft carried: landing pad for upto CH-53 heavy-lift helicopter, ondeck storage space for HH-60 sized helicopter.