Joint Venture Returns from the Gulf

The Incat Tasmania built ship HSV-X1 Joint Venture has arrived back at Hobart, Tasmania, returning from many months in the Persian Gulf in service with US defence forces.

As the High Speed Vessel HSV-X1 Joint Venture (Incat hull 050) left Tasmanian waters on the evening of September 11, 2001 (AEST) the towers of the World Trade Center fell in New York. The ship which had been chartered for experimental purposes did participate in a number of exercises and experiments but quite quickly went into service in the War against Terrorism.

Joint Venture
has excelled during her deployment in the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Just hours after Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Joint Venture sped into the shallow Persian Gulf waters near the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, acting as an afloat forward staging base for Marine Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Teams and Navy SEAL commandos.

On board with the Joint Venture Navy crew is another US Navy team who will form a second crew for the new HSV 2 Swift. The Navy crew joined the vessel in the Middle East for the trip to Hobart as a familiarisation and training run for their forthcoming high speed service on Swift.

Joint Venture
returns to the shipyard at Hobart for a brief period of scheduled maintenance. Arriving under US Navy control on August 14, the ship will be handed over to the US Army during the course of the maintenance period.

Speaking of Joint Venture’s role in the Gulf, the craft’s Commanding Officer, Captain Philip Beierl said, “it performed extremely well, operating in waters as shallow as five metres – a capability the Navy had never previously known.”

“If I had my way, there would be more Incat ships in the Navy,” Captain Beierl said.

In 2001, joint forces from the US Military awarded to Bollinger / Incat USA the charter for a High Speed Craft to be used as an evaluation platform for various trials and demonstrations for the different forces involved.

The 96 metre Wave Piercing Catamaran HSV-X1 Joint Venture became the benchmark for future Fast Sealift acquisitions, thanks to her high operational speed, long-range deployment capabilities, combined with a high deadweight capacity.

Originally a commercial craft which had worked on the route between the North and South Islands of New Zealand, Incat Tasmania modified the 96 metre (313 ft) Incat 050 for the military and she was re-named Joint Venture. A large section of the original passenger accommodation area was removed to make way for the installation of a helo-deck capable of accommodating large military helicopters. Internal fit-out, and other modifications to suit troop transportation were also made.

Joint Venture
is one of four Incat Wave Piercing Catamarans to enter Military service. In 1999 the Royal Australian Navy operated the 86 metre Wave Piercing Catamaran HMAS Jervis Bay during the East Timor crisis. In November 2002, the US Army took acceptance of its first Theater Support Vessel the 98 metre TSV-1X Spearhead, and on August 12 2003 the US Navy took over control of HSV 2 Swift.