AAHSS Austere Access High Speed Ship
To conduct maneuver from strategic distances, Future Forces organized in lighter, smaller, but more capable force packages, will exploit all available air and sea lift, both military and commercial, including advanced military lift platforms, such as austere access high speed sealift (AAHSS), super-short-takeoff-and-landing (SSTOL) aircraft, and theater watercraft, such as the joint high speed vessel (JHSV). AAHSS and JHSV capabilities will enable any part of the Future Force to be moved and sustained along the littoral for entry and sustained operations. By 2005 the SDHSS Shallow Draft High-Speed Ship and HSSDS High Speed Shallow Draft Ship appear to have evolved into the AAHSS.
This overall capability will be made possible by high-speed inter and intra-theater connectors (air/surface) that are able to operate over-the-shore or through unimproved, shallow water or austere ports for near simultaneous reinforcement of immediate response forces to enable the JFC to apply expanded maneuver options throughout the JOA. Examples of high-speed inter and intra-theater connectors (air/surface) include, but are not limited to, Rapid Strategic Lift Ship (RSLS), Austere Access High Speed Sealift (AAHSS), Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV), and Joint Heavy Lift Aircraft (JHLA).
Fielded in sufficient numbers, these advanced platforms will enable deploying forces to avoid vulnerable ports and airheads and deploy in combat-ready unit configurations to carefully selected positions of advantage in a matter of days, rather than weeks. They further permit the joint force commander to accelerate force flow, reduce the enemy's ability to deny physical access to the theater, and increase the potential for operational surprise.
The Army also will continue to preposition stocks and supplies both ashore and afloat to support initial and sustained force projection, although their location and composition undoubtedly will vary from theater to theater. Future Force integration with joint seabasing capabilities will further improve responsiveness and operational flexibility.
Each AAHSS in motion represents capability to deliver a combat configured force across an austere port or over the shore for immediate employment with minimal RSOI in 12 hrs or less. Vessels are sized to battalion TF (+). [roughly 5,000 ST and 1,500 passengers]. A 3-bn brigade fighting echelon could be spread across two vessels with integrated sustainment and some level of combat support [medium-weight BCT]. Division/UEx C2 and support units are distributed across 2-3 vessels (Some bde and div C2 in EECPs). A division level capability could be achieved with 6 vessels; full-up division/UEx with 9.
The CONOP has AAHSS upload units at CONUS or forward ports in combined arms, combat configuration with full pax for embarked units. Ships conduct strategic movement to JOA; refuel in transit if necessary. Force projection goes port to port, avoiding need to use advance base or conduct mode transfer. Conducts mission planning, rehearsal, and SU updates in transit.
Near-simultaneous discharge of embarked forces across multiple austere ports or O-T-S. Seabase provides ISR, IAMD, fires, POD security (if required) and sustainment to deployed forces. Separation between SPODs acceptable; bdes could disembark up to 200 kms apart; bn TFs up to 50km apart. SPOD selection based on multiple factors: security, transport net, throughput, etc. Once forces are debarked, HSS can return to CONUS to re-cock or support APS projection.
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