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TSV-1X Spearhead

The success of the HSV and MG Dail's personally championing the cause convinced TACOM to lease a second catamaran, Theater Support Vessel (TSV)-X1, Spearhead. The Army reverted money and the personnel vacancies destined for LSV8 to fund the first all-Army TSV. The US Army accepted delivery of TSV-1X Nov 2002.

In October 2002 the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) leased a second high-speed wave-piercing catamaran (WPC) from Australian fast ferry builder Incat, scheduled to be delivered to Bollinger/Incat USA in mid-November 2002, the 98m catamaran is an existing new-build vessel (hull 060) from Incat's Evolution 10B range of WPCs. It was named Spearhead and received the designation TSV (Theater Support Vessel)-1X. The vessel was modified at Incat's Hobart yard in accordance with US Army requirements before undertaking the delivery voyage.

The military and contractor equipment began arriving at Fort Eustis on 15 October 2002. The crew of 43 personnel flew to Holbart, Tasmania, in late October for training. The TSV-1X Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) vessel, USAV Spearhead, was accepted by the Army in a ceremony held in Hobart, Tasmania, on 14 November 2002. The Spearhead was a 98-meter, commercially designed catamaran with modifications to support military operations and equipment requirements. This vessel came one step closer to the objective vessel that incorporated over 100 modifications from lessons learned on the HSV-X1 joint demonstration. After leaving the HSV, CW4 Davis became the captain of the new TSV-X1 on 15 November. The TSV-1X was also attached to the 24th Battalion for command and control.

In December 2002, the TSV Spearhead left Australia for the Island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to support Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and participate in a USCENTCOM. The HSV Joint Venture reverted to US Navy control from 11 November until 17 March 2003 and deployed to the CENTCOM AOR in time to participate in Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

USAV TSV-1X Spearhead had been completed at the Incat shipyard in Hobart to meet US Army requirements and delivered to owner Bollinger/Incat USA for charter to the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM).

USAV TSV-1X Spearhead is part of the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstrator (ACTD) program by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the US Army. She will be used to demonstrate and evaluate her ability to perform during certain mission scenarios, assess its usefulness to the US military and refine the requirements for the next generation of army watercraft.

The TSV is critical to the Army's ability to perform its title 10, intra-theater mission. USAV TSV-1X Spearhead will be utilised on missions to maximize its speed and flexibility and is needed for both sustainment deliveries and the movement of Army prepositioned stocks, and troop units.

Spearhead is a 98m craft from Incat's Evolution 10B range of Wave Piercing Catamarans. The craft marks the US Army's second contract for a high speed Wave Piercing Catamaran for evaluation in various mission scenarios and is also their first TSV.

The Spearhead, hull number TSV-1X, which stands for "Theater Support Vessel - 1st Experimental, still bears a few reminders of its nine-year civilian past as a high-speed ferry between the Australian mainland and Tasmania. Most notably, there's the blue-and-rainbow-speckled carpet and passenger seating in the main-deck cabin. The large blue sunroof doesn't exactly shout "military" either. But standing in front of the docked craft, one could hardly mistake it for a civilian cruise ship.

TSV-1X Spearhead deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) since January 2003. The vessel conducted 117 Missions through October 2003, carried 1385 passengers, 7445.60 short tons, 3124 pieces of cargo over 67,236 total miles. The vessel operations have covered most of the CENTCOM AOR, providing speed and flexibility during sustainment deliveries, and movement of Army prepositioned stocks and troops.

As of mid-2004 Spearhead was in Hobart for annual maintenance and modification upgrades. Modifications include: Ride Control (Retractable T-Foil); Cargo Handling System (CHS); Roller Floor; Load Transfer Devise; Overhead Crane; Secure Enroute Communications Package - Improved (SECOMP-I); and Significantly Improved Satellite Communications Link (KU SATCOM).

Future modifications include: Layered Self Protection System; Active Defense Measures; Passive Defense Measures; Threat Identification System; Reconnaissance; Improved Movement Tracking System (MTS); and Others to be Identified.



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