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Command and Control Swift

February 14, 2010

Update-Someone just pointed out this is a 4 year old article. Aside from my embarrassment (though there were 2 dates on the post), I will leave it for discussion as a novel idea. Have a great Sunday!

The following on new plans for the HSV-2 Swift fast catamaran, a prototype of the new Joint High Speed Vessel sounds like an interesting new role for the advanced hull form. Some of the details were a little murky, however. First the story from Stephanie Heinatz at the Daily Press:

This week, the Swift, one of the Navy’s newest ships, made a port call to Norfolk, where it is being tested and showcased. Navy officials hope the Swift — or a ship with similar abilities — eventually can replace the command and control ships. The officials know the weapons systems now being tested on it will be implemented in the Littoral Combat Ship, a small, fast-attack boat designed for shallow waters.

Replacing the huge and immaculately equipped Blue Ridge C and C ships with a fast and light HSV? This is news to me or is there any other type of command ships in the Navy?

This type of platform offers a lot of advantages for a command and control ship,” said Mark Sakaguchi, the ship’s Virginia captain. “It has a lot of flexibility to respond to any kind of situation.” That flexibility comes from the ship’s advanced hull — the catamaran-like design that gives the ship the ability to maneuver in shallow water — and jet propulsion technology, which gives it its speed.

High speed desirable in a command ship? My notion is, it would be a well equipped communication suite, and plenty of room for a fleet commander and his staff. This is getting stranger by the second.

Right now the Navy has four command and control ships, said Cmdr. Sean Fox, who works for Norfolk’s 2nd Fleet test and experimentation branch. Typically those ships deploy before aircraft carrier strike groups to scout out missions. But because they are so much slower than the Swift, it takes them 20 days to get to places that would take the Swift 10 days.

Actually there are only 2, USS Blue Ridge and the USS Mount Whitney. There were 4 but the USS LaSalle was decommissioned in 2005, with the  USS Coronado following in 2006. Anyway, I’m not discounting the idea of an HSV command ship, as you all know New Wars has been a big promoter of the type. I just wanted to get the record straight.

Maybe our Dedicated Band of Readers might have further info on this subject.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. leesea permalink
    February 14, 2010 4:50 pm

    What a lot of folks don’t remember is that the Swift was originally chartered to satisfy MINEWARCOM rqmts for a mine control ship. When the ship was last time chartered and civilian crewed, the mission was changed to the following (quoted from MSC’s 2008 RFP):

    “The High Speed Vessel (HSV) will provide a transformational capability supporting the Global War on Terrorism and emerging operational concepts including Seabasing and Global Fleet Station. It will also support theater presence strategies, providing intra-theater lift for tailored modular forces into areas where austere, unimproved or degraded port facilities preclude their use by larger, slower surface platforms. High Speed Intra-Theater Lift will provide surface links between advanced bases, sea bases and forces operating ashore and will play a supporting role in all phases of sea-based operations. The capability will provide forward presence allowing responsive support in a range of operations. ”

    Speaking as someone who worked on the LCC/JCC(X) project briefly, I can say that one needs a much larger ship to support all the systems and personnel and that such a ship can be a naval auxiliary.

  2. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 14, 2010 7:52 am

    “that article is six years old!”

    Ugh! You’re right! No wonder I am confused. I only saw the top date.

  3. February 14, 2010 7:47 am

    Hello,

    that article is six years old!

    There were two strange points which stood out.

    Firstly,I can’t see how any of these qualities are of benefit to a command ship:

    “That flexibility comes from the ship’s advanced hull — the catamaran-like design that gives the ship the ability to maneuver in shallow water — and jet propulsion technology, which gives it its speed.”

    Unless they are talking about the sort of command tasks for which the Royal Navy would use H.M.S. Roebuck,in which case shallow draught might be of some benefit.

    Secondly,I didn’t think command ships spent their time doing things like this:

    “Typically those ships deploy before aircraft carrier strike groups to scout out missions. But because they are so much slower than the Swift, it takes them 20 days to get to places that would take the Swift 10 days.”

    tangosix.

  4. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 14, 2010 7:31 am

    But as you say Marcase, at least they are thinking outside the box! As Lee Wahler would insist, these would need some upgrading if they are going to be used in a warship role. Not sure how much Swift has been uparmed or armored for conditions expected of a littoral warship, but I do think its possible. She was a prototype LCS and her sisters have been used in this role.

    I primarily view these as motherships and fast sealift vessels. If they can be something more, that is a good thing. Just prove it too me first!

  5. Mike Burleson permalink*
    February 14, 2010 7:16 am

    Then when it mentioned scouting for the carriers, I thought that bizarre, which seems to me a role suitable for a destroyer. Is the Navy looking on JHSV for destroyer roles too?

    Not disappointed in the article at all, just thought it rather peculiar, bringing even more questions than answers.

  6. Marcase permalink
    February 14, 2010 7:00 am

    It’s possible that it is not intended to replace the Blue Ridge LCCs on a 1 for 1 basis, perhaps that the C3 capability is being ‘cut’ or subdivided over several JHSV hulls – an LCS flotilla leader, a MIW squadron leader, that sort of thing.

    JHSV are fast, but they aren’t as seaworthy as large (conventional) hulls – JHSV can’t sit out a storm and has to maneuver around it, with implications for any C3 role.

    Still, that JHSV is seriously considered for other roles than just fast ferry makes it indeed the ‘real’ LCS platform…

    Cheers.

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