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MCS Mine Countermeasures Support Ship

The Inchon was removed from service in 2001 after a fire caused extensive damage to its engine room. The Navy's only mine warfare command ship, the Inchon was decommissioned on 20 June 2002.

Following the decommissioning of the MCS-12 Inchon, by mid-2002 the Navy had decided to lease a privately owned commercial ship, at a cost of up to $100 million, as a replacement mine warfare command ship. The vessel, probably a catamaran built in Australia or Europe, would serve with the Navy Mine Warfare Command in Ingleside, Texas. Beginning in 2003, the Navy will pay $20 million per year for the temporary, replacement for the Inchon. The ship would serve as the command center for a squadron of mine-sweepers.

The Inchon had a crew of more than 700 sailors, while the replacement ship will have about 100 sailors. There were numerous options for the USS Inchon's replacement, including building a new ship or converting one already in the fleet. The best case scenario would be to build a new ship, one designed for mine warfare. That ship would include a large flight deck and a "well deck" that can release vehicles onto the water. The ship would also have to be able to service the smaller ships.

Such a vessel provides much-needed support for mine countermeasures ships and coastal mind-hunting ships, which are relatively small: 244 feet and 188 feet in length, respectively. Their dimensions, and limited supply and storage capacities, make the kind of support the mine warfare command ship provides important if not essential.

HSV 2 Swift, a high-speed catamaran, was chartered by MSC to act as an interim replacement for deactivated mine countermeasure command ship, USS Inchon. Swift will be used to explore and refine high-speed vessel technology and tactics for use in a variety of missions, many focusing on the littorals, or shallow coastal areas of the world's oceans.

HSV 2 Swift was delivered to the Navy in August 2003 under contract by MSC for operation by a Navy crew for Mine Warfare Command, Navy Warfare Development Command and the USMC Combat Development Command. Swift will serve as an interim mine warfare command and support ship. Swift will be used to explore the concepts, capabilities and military utility of advanced hull and propulsion technology in the littoral combat ship program for the Navy. For the Marine Corps, the HSV will conduct a series of experiments, exercises, demonstrations and training events integrating high-speed vessels with other watercraft and amphibious ships.

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