Sea Transportation: April 10, 2004


: The US Army, US Navy, and US Marine Corps have been testing, for the past two years, the Australian-built USS Swift (HSV-2). This twin-hulled vessel offers a number of innovative changes in traditional naval design. It is now being tested with a number of unmanned vehicles aboard. 

Built in only 10 months for under $ 100 million -- about 5 percent that of an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer -- HSV-2 is testing its suitability as a launching and command platform for many types of unmanned vehicles: vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicles as well as unmanned underwater vehicles. It is also seen as a prime "mother ship" for Special Operations small boats and minisubs. 

The Navy, having identified amphibious warfare and mine warfare as the two initially most promising duties for the Swift, is bringing in sailors from the  Naval Amphibious Command at Little Creek, VA, and Mine Warfare Command at Ingleside, TX to work on the Swift. According to Mine Warfare Command, Swift itself is also the interim replacement for USS Inchon, the Mine Warfare Support ship, as well as for joint experimentation purposes. 

The US Army is currently showing as much enthusiasm for the Swift-type ships as is the Navy, as 21st century warfare doctrine continues to blur the once sharp lines between the different services' operational requirements. Swift is currently serving operationally as an interim Mine Warfare Command and Support Ship (MCS) and supporting "transformational modular mission payload initiatives." Lessons learned aboard Swift through the experimentation with unmanned underwater  and surface vehicles and with unmanned aerial vehicles in the mine warfare mission area will 
be folded into development of future Mine Countermeasures ops for HSV and may replace earlier concepts of the littoral combat ship (LCS), the most recent conceptual incarnation of the latter coming under increasing fire from Congress as being too big, too expensive, and of outdated technology. 

According to reports, the Army may be ready to order as many as a dozen of the Swifts, while the Navy plans to buy at least one more by 2007 -- K.B. Sherman 


Article Archive

Sea Transportation: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close