By Capt. Gary D. Loten-Beckford, Southern Partnership Station Joint High Speed Vessel 2015 Public Affairs Officer
KEY WEST, Fla. (NNS) -- USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1), operated by the Military Sealift Command (MSC), completed Fleet Experimentation (FLEX) period two from July 15 - 22.
Southern Partnership Station-Joint High Speed Vessel 2015 FLEX phase 2 explored JHSV's ability to support broader maritime C2 capabilities, by supporting the organic deployment of two un-manned aerial systems (UAS), Scan Eagle and RQ-20A (Puma).
The UAS operations were enhanced by embarkation of a Littoral Surveillance System (LSS) which provided an air and surface search capability by way of a telescopic mast mounted radar. In addition to the maritime C2 enhancements, JHSV also embarked a small vessel operations pier that consisted of eight floating dock sections which could be rapidly deployed to provide an additional small boat berthing capability, from which stores, personnel and fuel transfers could occur simultaneously.
Subject-matter expert exchanges allowed for building partner capabilities with members of the Colombian Navy. Capt. Juan C. Suarez, Colombian Naval frigate commander, and Chief Gustavo Archila, Colombian Naval sub-official, were distinguished guests from the Republic of Colombia invited to see the expanded mission capabilities of the JHSV 1.
"During this second phase of the NAVSOUTH Fleet Experimentation campaign, we were able to meet all exercise objectives and more fully inform the concept of operations for afloat forward sea basing of the JHSV class," said Capt. Bob Cepek, SPS-15 mission commander, "I am very satisfied with the flexibility and can-do spirit of the military and MSC team on Spearhead."
FLEX two campaign participants came from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, U.S. Navy's MSC, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command, Navy Warfare Development Command, Boeing and the Insitu demonstration team.
"Although some of the technologies we employed are in regular use throughout the fleet, we had the chance to employ them in new ways and that's the advantage of the FLEX process, a controlled environment to test some of the great ideas floating around out there," said Cepek.
SPS-JHSV 15 is a U.S. Navy deployment focused on subject-matter expert changes with partner nation militaries and security forces.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet support U.S. Southern Command's joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations to maintain access, enhance interoperability and build enduring partnerships in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.