Now that they've got this brand new seaworthy pick-up truck, the Navy is about to start getting phone calls from the Army and the Marines asking for help moving furniture and whatnot. But that's okay. That's exactly the reason the Navy built this ship in the first place.
The USNS Spearhead isn't tricked out with lasers and Gatling guns or any other of those neat little toys that the Navy has at its disposal. Instead, the Spearhead is basically just a big hollow shell, with some powerful engines, airline-style seating for 312, and a 20,000 square foot mission bay that can store a whole heck of a lot of whatever you want.
The Navy sees this new class of cargo carriers as fast, modular platforms that can be quickly and easily adapted to a variety of missions, ranging from hospital ships to staging bases to simple cargo carriers. Huge helipads and a big ramp makes it easy to transfer stuff on and off the ships, and a shallow draft (under 15 feet) means that they can get in nice and close to shore.
Up until this point, the Navy has been relying on a leased fleet of converted catamaran ferries, and the new Spearhead class shares about 70% of its structure in common with civilian high-speed cats. The Navy version, of course, is bigger, faster (with a top speed of 50 mph), more menacing, and painted in that ugly grey color, which makes us all miss the days of dazzle camo.
Via Danger Room