Spearhead for Unmanned Ships

Spearhead for Unmanned Ships 5 August, 2019

The U.S. Navy tested expeditionary fast transport vessel USNS Spearhead (T-EPF 1) as a mother ship for unmanned aerial vehicle and unmanned underwater vehicle. Spearhead sailed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Key West. This experiment is in line with a global trend that consists of using manned surface vessels for the launch, operation and recovery of unmanned maritime systems, essentially using the manned vessel as a mother ship. Operated by the U.S. Military Sealift Command, USNS Spearhead is the first Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship.

Designed and built by Austal USA, Spearhead is 103 meters long and 28.5 meters in beam catamaran. Platform has space for 41 crew members and accommodations for up to 150 people and an additional 312 seats for troop transport. The T-EPF-1’s large, open-mission deck and large habitability spaces provide the opportunity to conduct a wide range of missions from engagement and humanitarian assistance to disaster relief, and from maritime security support operations, to intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The US Navy's Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) program is procuring 12 vessels from Austal for the fast, intra-theatre transportation of troops, military vehicles and equipment with aviation support. The U.S. Navy's Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program, formerly named the Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), is capable of operating in shallow waters and reaching speeds in excess of 35 knots fully loaded.

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Spearhead for Unmanned Ships

Issue 86