The HSV-2 (High Speed Vessel) Swift is a high-speed, wave-piercing catamaran. Built by Incat at their Hobart, Tasmania facility as a car ferry, the Swift is a civilian commercial vessel currently under lease to the US Navy as an interim Mine Warfare Command and Support Ship (MCS) to replace the USS Inchon (MCS-8) which was decommissioned in 2002, and Navy/Marine Corps experimentation vessel. The Swift's primary function is service as a technology test-bed and capabilities demonstrator; its high speed, shallow draft, mission flexibility and modularity, and hull design offer the Navy an opportunity to see, first hand, what effect emergent technologies will have on future ship design and development. There are currently three HSV ships in active service: HSV-X1 Joint Venture was the initial prototype. It served with the US Navy from November 1998 through March 2004 when it was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register and assigned to the US Army, where it serves as a high-speed supply vessel. TSV-X1 Is a Theater Support vessel assigned to the US Army for high speed, in theater logistical support, and HSV-2 is currently under contract with the US Navy.
The HSV-2 Swift is 321 feet long, has a beam of 89 feet, and draws 11 feet of water. The Swift displaces 1,668 tons at full load. Her normal compliment is 42 though she has berthing available for 107, with the capability to accommodate an additional 87 by converting conventional seating. The Swift has a top speed of 45 knots, and a cruising speed of 30 knots. The Swift has a range of 4,500 miles at cruising speed.
As part of the Swift's conversion from a civilian to military craft, a helicopter flight deck was added, the vehicle deck was strengthened to accommodate military vehicles (the rear mounted loading ramp is M1A2 capable), and the Swift was equipped with the capacity to launch small boats as well as unmanned, remotely operated submersibles.
The Swift's modular system construction facilitates mission reconfiguration and retrofitting without lengthy shipyard stays. This modular design also facilitates system upgrading as new technologies become available.
The Swift is capable of taking aboard 605 tons of cargo and is equipped with 28,740 ft2 of deck space for cargo and vehicles. Its flight deck can accommodate two MH-60S helicopters. Up to 250 combat troops can be shuttled in the Swift?s aircraft style seating.
The Swift is the only surface vessel in Navy service that maintains two crews; a GOLD crew out of Little Creek, VA. that concentrates on Marine expeditionary missions, and a BLUE crew out of Ingleside, TX. that focuses on mine warfare operations.
The Swift is powered by four Caterpillar 3618 Marine diesel engines producing 38,600 horsepower combined. Propulsion is provided by four Wartsilia LIPS LJ120E waterjets (the Swift is not equipped with conventional propellers.)
The HSV-2 Swift is equipped with a highly automated ship?s control system which not only enables the ship to operate effectively with only a crew of 42, but it has also enabled the ship to completely give up it?s dependence on paper navigational charts (The Swift is currently the only ship in service with the US Navy certified for completely electronic navigation.) As a civilian craft, the Swift is equipped with standard HF/UHF/VHF communications equipment and to support its military missions the Swift is equipped with numerous SATCOM communications devices, as well as GPS navigation.
The Swift is quipped with one Mk 96 stabilized weapon system. The Mk 96 combines the M242 25mm bushmaster cannon and Mk 19 40mm grenade launcher into a single firing platform. In addition, the Swift is armed with a single Mk 45 "Snake Eyes" 40mm grenade launcher system.