US Navy Wave Piercing vessel to visit SA

Sep 30, 2003
Author: P&S

One of the fastest naval ships to operate in any navy, the Australian Incat-built High Speed Vessel wave-piercing catamaran, on charter to the US Navy, HSV2 Swift, is to visit Durban and Cape Town on her maiden voyage from Hobart in Tasmania, Australia, to the United States.

Swift is due in Durban on 3 November and will sail for Cape Town on 5 November, during which an attempt will be made to break the all-time record for the fastest transition between the two ports. A time of between 18 and 20 hours for the 824 n.miles is being talked about.

On sea trials Swift achieved a speed of 47 knots and during delivery tests she completed the fastest ever transit of the northern Great Barrier Reef – a distance of 488 nautical miles form pilot to pilot station between Cairns and Booby Island, which was covered in 12 hours 30 minutes at an average of 39.04 knots. This speed takes into account the time required to slow down to embark and disembark the pilot.

Swift is the fourth Incat-built wave-piercing catamaran to enter military service, following the 86m Australian Navy HMAS Jervis Bay, which saw service in East Timor in 1999. The second vessel in service is a 96m HSV named Joint Venture, which entered service in 2001 and has since seen service in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The third vessel is the US Army’s TSV-1X (Theatre Support Vessel) Spearhead.

HSV2 Swift is intended as an interim Mine Warfare Command and Support ship (MCS) serving both the navy and the Marine Corps.

Specifications call for the vessel to be capable of maintaining an average speed in excess of 35 knots while loaded with 350 personnel and equipment. She must also be able to maintain 24-hour operations at slow speeds of between 3 and 10 knots while working with autonomous (remote controlled) vehicles and in support of ‘dedicated and emerging organic mine warfare missions’. At a transit speed of 20 knots the ship has a minimum range of 4,000 nautical miles.

A ramp at the stern provides access for military vehicles including M1A1 main battle tanks of up to 141,000 lbs. The ship is also equipped with a load-compensating crane for the launching and recovery of small boats and unmanned vehicles of up to 26,000 lbs.

Swift also has a certified flight deck for operation of MH-60S, CH-46, UH-1 and AH-1 helicopters as well as protected storage and maintenance for two MH-60S helicopters.

Once the vessel reaches the US, Swift will operate out of Naval Station Ingelside in Texas and the Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base in Virginia.

Technical Data

Builder: Incat, Hobart, Australia
Class Society: Det Norte Veritas
Length overall: 97.22m
Beam overall: 26.6m
Draft: 3.3m
Speed: approx 38 knots at 700 tonnes deadweight – approximately 42 knots at 350 tonnes dwt
Source: Incat

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