USAV Spearhead (TSV-1X)

High Speed US Army Transport Ship

In Kuwait, Hawaii, China


  1. Introduction
  2. Departs Hobart
  3. In Kuwait
  4. HMAS Moreton Bay
  5. In Hawaii
  6. Chinese High-speed Guided Missile Catamarans

    See Also

  7. USAV Spearhead

Strolling down from the central business district of Hobart during a break in a meeting in 2002, I was startled to come around a corner and see tied up at the dock the US Army's high speed transport ship Spearhead (TSV-1X). I snapped off a few photographs and posted them to the web. Ever since people have sent me updates on the ship's progress. Here are a few.

Update: USAV Spearhead TSV-1X departs Hobart

The US Army's new Incat 98m theatre support vessel USAV Spearhead TSV-1X sailed from Hobart today and will begin duty with the US forces in the near future.
Tasmanian Shipping Supplies working with the vessels officers supplied a major part of the vessels deck & engine, cabin and provisions after the ships was received from Hobart's Incat shipyard.

The TSV 1X joins another Incat 96m vessel Joint Venture HSV X1 that is currently in service with a joint US army/navy crew. A third Incat 98m vessel will join the US Navy fleet in early 2003.

From: News and Updates, Tasmanian Shipping Supplies, December 2002

Update: USAV Spearhead In Kuwait

Message from SSG Drewery, US Army, photos and text reproduced with permission:

Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 23:23:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: john drewery
Subject: hitched a lift on the TSV-X1 in MAR of 2003
To: *

HMMWV's waiting to be loaded in QatarI was deployed to a more southern country in JAN03 with an Army Patriot missile unit. once the "shock and awe" started winding down, we got called to pack up and head north, eventually to Iraq. The Saudis didn't really want troops going through Saudi, so we got transported by sea, late FEB or early MAR. And the boat just happened to be a Catamaran.. all aluminum, unpainted, very un-Army looking, the TSV-X1 Spearhead..

loading- loading up in qatarI have been on the open ocean, mostly on sailboats around 30 to 40 feet, and I couldn't imagine a cat hulled cargo vessel, but there I was driving my truck up onto it :). It was incredibly fast for a cargo vessel, and very well equipped as a sea vessel in general, but being aluminum it handled like a cork... seemed like 30' of pitch and roll on maybe 15' seas... very very disturbing for most of my unit, but great fun for me :)

riding to kuwaitIt's outfitted like a cargo ship on the botttom and like no other boat I've ever seen on top, looks like a really wide 747 in the upper deck, and being so far up accentuated her rough handling, but man she could fly. Anyway, I was looking for pictures of it to show my wife, because ehs was asking how we moved up so fast, and I found yours :)

taking trucks off in kuwaitFigured with your obvious interest you may like to hear a first hand account of an actual tour of combat duty. You place her leaving Hobart in late NOV, and I have her on duty hauling troops and equipment by FEB. Seems she earned her keep pretty quick. I don't know how much I can say about her, but I'll answer what questions I can if you have any. Thanks for posting the pictures and the history, the information proved useful to at least one person out here :)

Update: HMAS Moreton Bay

Weapons of Choice: book coverLieutenant Rachel Nguyen had slept six hours out of the last forty-eight. As the defensive systems operator of the troop cat Moreton Bay, she felt herself directly responsible for the lives of four hundred soldiers and thirty-two crewmembers.

From: " Weapons of Choice: World War 2.1", John Birmingham, Macmillian, Sydney, 2004

Weapons of Choice is a Tom Clancey style action adventure novel set in the future. The HMAS Moreton Bay is a fictional high speed transport ship. It is equipped with a "Metal Storm" Close In Weapons System (CWIS). There is an Australian company Metal Storm, developing such a weapon.

The name "Moreton Bay" may have been derived from the real ship HMAS Jervis Bay. The Australian city of Brisbane is on Moreton Bay, which also features in the story.

High Speed Sealift is a Joint Mission

High-speed vessels, such as the Navy's Joint Venture (HSV-X1) and the Army's Spearhead (TSV-1X), not only are first-rate troop transport vessels, but project power inland by supporting aviation and littoral missions as well. If joint component commanders thoughtfully integrate HSVs with other assets, mission effectiveness will take off. ...

The HSVs have tremendous potential as maritime assets for the JFMCC and can play a powerful role in logistics and maneuver warfare. Their main operating area is that classic seam in joint operations, the littoral environment. In the transport role, the HSVs have enormous impact on JFLCC-focused land operations, while their aviation assets can project power inland. In a matter of hours, they can shift gears into a classic JFMCC sea control role, hunting submarines with airborne dipping sonar. The JFMCC organization is in the best position to properly manage and integrate these multimission platforms, but it will not come easily. JFMCC doctrine must be written to enable dynamic and robust use of the HSVs across component boundaries. It is better to do this now than to read about it in the next operation's "lessons learned" message.

From: " High Speed Sealift is a Joint Mission, Lieutenant Commander Frank S. Mulcahy, Civil Engineer Corps, U.S. Navy, Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine, January 2005, Vol. 131/1/1,223.

Update: USAV Spearhead TSV-1X in Hawaii

TSV-1X in Hawaii TSV-1X in Hawaii: side view

Here are some pics of the Army TSV-1X transport ship. I took these pictures in hawaii about a week ago. ...

From: "Curtiswlkr" (3 Aug 2005)

Update: Chinese High-speed Guided Missile Catamarans

The U.S. Naval Institute reported in July 2005, a new type of Chinese guided missile attack craft, similar in appearane to the Australian high-speed catamarans but half their size. See their article for a photograph:

... Though details remain sketchy, it seems that the first of a new class of fast patrol craft, numbered 2208, was launched during April 2004 at Qiuxin Shipyard in Shanghai. Since 2004, at least three gray-hulled sister ships numbering 2209, 2210, and 2211 have also been sighted. It is clear that these new vessels are optimized for high speed and stealthy, short-range maritime operations. Sources indicate that up to thirty craft are now planned, with construction to take place at five different Chinese shipyards. The vessels are apparently fitted with at least one 30-mm gun and perhaps four anti-ship missiles. Though some reports indicate that the class carries a short-range surface-to-air missile system, none appears fitted in plain sight in any of the available photographs. ...

From: "Combat Fleets", Eric Wertheim, Combat Fleets of the World, Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute, July 2005

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