USNS Trenton, Our Navy’s Fifth Joint High-Speed Vessel is Christened

USNS Trenton (JHSV 5), the fifth of our Navy’s joint high-speed vessels designed for rapid transport of troops and equipment, was christened Jan. 10 during a ceremony at Austal USA’s shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.

Military Sealift Command will own and operate USNS Trenton, which will join the rest of the Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV) fleet. Trenton will have a crew of 22 civil service mariners who will operate, navigate, and maintain the ship.

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“In football, we have what we call our starters: those chosen by owners and coaches based on their abilities,” said Rear Adm. T. K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command, during his address to an audience from the military services, civic representatives, and the maritime industry. “Then there are the special teams,” Shannon continued. “These ships are our Navy’s special team and can perform niche roles so that our “starters;” the destroyers, cruisers, and amphibious ships, can focus on their primary mission: fighting and winning our nation’s wars.”

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus was the ceremony’s principal speaker. USNS Trenton is named for the capital of New Jersey and the site of General George Washington’s first military victory during the American war for independence and is the fourth ship to bear the name.

“[USNS Trenton] is tailor-made for our 21st century operations and maritime security missions, from the wide expanses of the Pacific to the littorals of Africa. She’s fast, agile, modular, shallow draft, and will allow us to work in many different ways with our partners and friends,” Secretary Mabus said.

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The 338-foot-long aluminum catamarans are designed to be fast, flexible and maneuverable, even in shallow waters, making them ideal for transporting troops and equipment quickly within a theater of operations. The 20,000-square-foot mission bay area aboard JHSVs can be reconfigured to quickly adapt to whatever mission the ship is tasked with, such as carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief or transporting tanks and troops.

JHSVs are capable of transporting 600 tons of military troops, vehicles, supplies and equipment 1,200 nautical miles at a high average speed of 35 knots and can operate in austere ports and waterways, providing U.S. forces added mobility and flexibility. The JHSVs’ aviation flight decks can support day and night flight operations. Each JHSV also has sleeping accommodations for up to 146 personnel and airline-style seating for up to 312.

MSC operates approximately 110 noncombatant, U.S. merchant mariner-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world, and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.

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