Monday, April 4, 2016

JHSV Update

The Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) is a class of high speed intratheater transport that is being looked at for a variety of additional missions and tasks.  The DOT&E 2015 Annual Report offers a look at the use of the JHSV as transport to/from the Navy’s Mobile Landing Platform (MLP – essentially, the sea base).  Unfortunately, the JHSV was found to be unsuited for connecting with the MLP due to the JHSV’s ramp design limitations.

“JHSV interoperability with MLP (CCS) is not operationally effective since, by design (ramp limitation), it can only conduct vehicle transfers when conducted in sea states with significant wave heights of less than 0.1 meters (approximates a Sea State 1), which are normally found only in protected harbors.”

“JHSV is not operationally effective interfacing with MLP (CCS) for open-ocean, at-sea transfer of vehicles. The JHSV ramp cannot handle the small, but continual, relative movement of the two ships when moored skin-to-skin. Although vehicles were successfully transferred inside a protected harbor, transfer operations at-sea failed.”

More generally,

“The operational restriction of the JHSV’s Safe Operating Envelope (SOE) is a major limitation of the ship class that must be factored into all missions.”

The ships were built a bit too weak and significant bow damage has occurred due to higher sea states, forcing the Navy to strengthen and rebuild the bows of all the ships.  Still, the ship’s main asset, speed, will be subject to limitations.

“To utilize the speed capability of the ship, seas must not exceed Sea State 3 (significant wave height up to 1.25 meters). At Sea State 4 (significant wave height up to 2.5 meters), the ship must slow to 15 knots. At Sea State 5 (significant wave height up to 4 meters), the ship must slow to 5 knots. Above Sea State 5, the ship can only hold position and await calmer seas.”

Some Significant Limitations

The JHSV’s purpose and usefulness has always been questionable, in my mind, and the imposed limitations only add to that doubt.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I will admit to never understanding the JHSV; what it was supposed to do, or what key need it was supposed to fill.

    CNO, not trying to hijack this post, but i read this on another blog last night.

    It was also covered in the War College podcast.

    I think it covers a couple of recurring themes on this blog:

    A) They've been working on this issue for awhile now. With no fixes in sight. What is the matter with our aerospace industry???

    B) Holy Crap we know the strengths/weaknesses of the SH. To me its always been a compromise, but was at least turnable, with good avionics and reliability. But now with this OBOGs issue? That's a MAJOR issue that directly affects the already truncated carrier wings; I.E. the main battery of the fleet.

    if the Hornets that are left after the buddy tanking hornets are taken out of the rotation, what does it mean if some of the rest can't continue the mission due to DCS or hypoxia?

    And why are we screwing around with the LCS mission modules, or the JHSV, when the SH's are crippled?

    1. It seems to be to make the defense industry money.

      The real question is does this thing have any value? If not, it needs to be retired, the sooner the better as it is a waste of cash.

    2. The SuperHornet? Or the OBOGS?
      The SH value is an interesting question. If its fuel fraction wasn't so poor I actually like it.

      From everything I've read it has a high sortie rate and good reliability. It turns well, and has good avionics.

      I always think of it as the Toyota Camry of fighter jets. Its not going to beat the guy in the hot mustang; but its always there in any weather. And its (relatively) cheap.

      The range thing is just murder though. I've always wondered if they could do something to it (just expand the physical dimensions) to improve that without breaking the bank.

      If that could be done (big if, I know) then a plane like the SH isn't a bad deal. It has good bring back, great avionics, good sortie times, and you could buy alot of them.

      All that said, i think there is zero question as to needing a new air wing. I'd like a good long range fighter/interceptor to my way of thinking, and a good long range attack aircraft. And the OBOGS/DCS issue really undercuts my faith in the SH and the aerospace industry in general.

      This has happened now with a fighter that is from the 90's and been in the fleet for decades, and a brand new (comparitively) F-22. What the heck?

      Who wants to bet money that the one on the F-35 is going to start having 'issues'?

      Back to the SH,

      My impression was that the Navy of the 90's, in building the SH, decided that its job was to do things like the Bosnian mission. And that they were tired of the maintanance on the Tomcat, and didn't want to spend money on things like the A6-F and keeps a larger logistics footprint.

      For them, go to the SH, and you have a plane that is reliable, has a high sortie rate, and its range doesn't matter because Bosnia can't challenge a carrier close off of its coast.

      But that's just my thinking.

    3. I'm anti Super Hornet. The original Hornet, YF-17, was the aircraft that proved inferior to the YF-16, and was made even worse by the F-18.

      The F-18 Super Hornet was made even less maneuverable. Also not widely discussed was the Super Hornet's wing drop issue, which caused further reductions in performance.

      But even when it works, the range leaves much to be desired. There are better alternatives out there.

  3. Irregardless of their weakness doors anyone see out fitting these vessels with missile and a doctrine for fast strike in waters such as those around Taiwan. Kind of like the shoot and scoot doctrine for artillery

    They may be wrong for their intended mission but their potential is great for a fast light and cheap missile strike force.

    1. As Jim points out below, the problem with using the JHSV (or LCS or any small vessel) is targeting. How does a small vessel with limited sensors get worthwhile targeting data? It does not good to have a 100 mile weapon tied to a 20 mile sensor.

      The Navy will claim that offboard sensors on other platforms will provide the targeting data but that assumes a LOT of fantasy level wishful thinking about the survivability of omnipresent sensors deep in enemy airspace and the ability of our data links and networks to function flawlessly in the face of enemy ECM.

      I would also think that a small vessel intended for near-suicidal shoot and scoot missions should be stealthy to the extent reasonably possible. Such is not the case for the JHSV, as far as I know. I've never seen any claim that they are stealthy.

      You're kind of describing the WWII PT boat concept. The problem with that is basing since smaller vessels tend to be short endurance and require forward support.

      All that said, the concept is well worth consideration so, good comment!

    2. The PT vessel idea is neat; and it does give us a heavy hitting attrition unit. But for the Chinese scenario they'd have to be based relatively close, unless you can design a boat that can be 'rough based'.

      That opens up a couple problems: A) Who would do it (Bob Work had a podcast where he said in a conflict with China, we were unlikely to have local bases) and B) as with fighters, those bases are open to missile attack.

      For my money I'd much prefer some submarines. But then they aren't cheap by any measure.

    3. The other key attribute of a PT boat is that it's CHEAP! A JHSV, LCS, or similar are not cheap enough to be considered throwaway units.

    4. General targeting of areas like naval bases does not require extended sensors. That is the type of strike I'm talking about

      Hit them where they stage their assets with a 500 mile missile would keep them of balance

    5. I wonder what a modern day PT boat looks like.

      Some small, fast ship built with something like deck tube launchers for AShM's?

      It would have to have a stealthy shape. Decent enough range to get to where it needs to go without close in basing.

      Crew accomodations would suck.

      Can that be made cheaply?

      Given they are building supertankers for under $200 million you'd think they could build a smaller ship for much, much less.

    6. "I wonder what a modern day PT boat looks like."

      Look at the Chinese Type 022 (Houbei class) missile boat for a good example of a modern PT boat.

  4. I've heard about that idea. How would they target?

    Only being partially snarky...

    General characteristics
    Tonnage: 1,515 tonnes
    Length: 103.0 m (337 ft 11 in)
    Beam: 28.5 m (93 ft 6 in)
    Draft: 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
    Four MTU 20V8000 M71L diesel engines
    Four ZF 60000NR2H reduction gears
    Speed: 43 knots (80 km/h; 49 mph)
    Range: 1,200 nmi (1,400 mi; 2,200 km)[6]
    Boats & landing
    craft carried: Can deploy various rigid hull inflatable boats[7][8]
    Capacity: 600 short tons[6]
    Troops: 312
    Crew: 41
    Armament: Four mounts for M2 .50 caliber machine guns[9]
    Aircraft carried: Landing pad for a helicopter, up to CH-53 Super Stallion/CH-53K King Stallion,[10] parking and storage area for MH-60 Seahawk[9]

    Helo... RHIB's... 40kt speed... add an unguided cannon of some sort and its like a $200 million version of the LCS odd class, but just shorter on range.

    1. That is not surprising as that was the LCS original concept. But then people starting to ask for ships that were more survivable, better armed, mission modules, modern electronic system like 3D radars, and hanger for helicopters. In other words, mission creep.

    2. Those vessels has the same machinery as the Iver Huitfeldt class AAW-frigates. That is hilarious :-)

  5. They aren't bad for their original concept, which was to transport TROOPS from a near theatre port to mate up with the MPF(F) sea-base's equipment. It would be much easier to transfer troops ship to ship.

    1. I can't recall hearing that exact mission. Are you sure or is that a bit of after the fact missionizing? My recollection of the original mission concept was intratheater transport of troops. Of course, I guess what you're describing is a form of that.

    2. If they're not that useful, sell all 6 of them to the coast guard as narcotics chasers. Their high speed and crew size will be helpful. Then we can cancel the last 5 planned.

    3. Andrew S, each of those engines burn 2000 litres of diesel an hour. And there are four of them. Pretty expensive way to catch a speedboat.

    4. Is that full speed or cruising speed? Cause if that is the idle burn rate, they need to be decommissioned.

  6. I am wondering if we should stop all spending on new ship construction for amphibious assault until we come up with a viable strategy for contested assaults against peer adversaries. Once we have an actual plan, we can then develop ships we with the capabilities we actually need.

    1. Maybe as CNO notes, all ship construction should stop until the USN actually knows what it's doing. Right now it seems to be all over the place.

      They seem to think that they want to:
      1. Fight Islamic Fundamentalists and "little wars"
      2. Peacekeeping
      3. A confrontation with Russia
      4. A confrontation with China

      Likely in that order too.

    2. No,

      Like your job? Would you like someone to come to you tomorrow and say your boss is an asshole and made some very bad decisions and because of that, we're not going to employ you for the next 3 years till he gets his shit together. in the meantime either starve or go get another job, BUT, you must come back in 3 years time and maybe get a job that again, which might be shit canned again if we screwed up again and didn't get it right, again.

      Times that by about 300,000 staff that work in the various ship building + support industries US wide.
      So no, you can't ever stop anything. Not in a functional western society, where everything we do takes constant concerted great effort. You can no more stop all ship building today than you could simply decide to skip a day of maintenance on your bridges, or power grid, it would all collapse.

      Any changes you want to put into affect now will not have ramifications for several more years. Its just the way it works. Lets please have realistic discussions. Else, all we're doing is pissing in the wind.

    3. Nate, you probably missed the earlier discussions that this is referring to. I've stated that a 10 year moratorium on new ship construction would be a good thing. Hand in hand with this goes a very heavy emphasis on getting the ships we have back into fighting shape. Lots of maintenance and lots of upgrades. Far from being out of work, the shipyards would be overwhelmed with upgrades and maintenance. At the end of this period we would have a fleet that is at max readiness and capability. Further, the moratorium period would be used to calmly re-evaluate our strategic needs and design a new round of ships that are actually useful.

      That's a thumbnail sketch of the moratorium. There's more to it, like taking the opportunity to promote smaller shipyards so that they can become viable alternatives to the larger yards that are, frankly, performing poorly and offering little value for the money.

      All of that aside, it is not the job or responsibility of the government or DoD to prop up shipyards. If they're not performing, let them die. New yards will take their place and the workers will migrate to the new companies. Just like energy, jobs are neither created nor destroyed, they merely move from company to company.

    4. You very blithely say its not the job of the government or DOD (Still government) to prop up ship yards. Well, Germany, Italy, France, UK, South Korea, Japan, basically, all the other western economies would disagree with you.
      Not totally, sure, but to some extent, you simply must support your local construction capability, else you risk having an Australian scenario, where govt cuts subsidies to local manufacturing, and it simply disappears, headed overseas.
      You may say so what, if they can do it cheaper let them.
      Well, we in the west outlawed slavery centuries ago. Instituted health care, minimum wages, pensions, etc. All very expensive programs, and only practicable with higher wages.
      So, if you're happy to export your manufacturing jobs to countries that have none of the above, then, why did we bother instituting the above in our own countries? Why abolish slavery in the US if you're happy to buy devices, cars, ships built by people who earn $100 per month, are forced to live in labour dormitories for 11 months of the year and can't collect their wages until 2 weeks before they are released for the chinese new years celebrations?

      Its only my ignorant opinion, but, free trade agreements are only practicable between economies of like minded cultures.
      An Arliegh Burke type ship can probably be built in China for half the price (or less) than it can back in the USA, but, it can't be developed there, it can't be conceptualised there, it can't be innovated there. It can be physically built there by slave labour.
      Well, sorry, i dont want to live in that world.
      Yes, its a little protectionist, I'm not a socialist, but, you can't hand over our hard earned cash to those that would exploit lax labour laws. Its short sighted.

    5. "You very blithely say its not the job of the government or DOD (Still government) to prop up ship yards. Well, Germany, Italy, France, UK, South Korea, Japan, basically, all the other western economies would disagree with you. "

      Yeah, the UK government uses that argument, we need to build our own hulls, even if we build ships we dont need and overpay to keep the yards busy, its what the americans, french and germans do.
      I bet France and Germany says much the same.

    6. Its also, frankly, rubbish, anyway.
      The UKs efforts to "build in the UK" have had the reserve effect.
      Our new Type 45 destroyers are "built in the UK", but apart from the actual hull, very little is "built in the UK", the missiles, the system that guides them, are European, the radar at least is English.

      The UKs MBT is in theory built in the UK, but in reality, almost every high tech part is foreign.


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