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Army Aircraft Carrier?

Army Tests Flight Ops on High-Speed Water Vessel


Army Ship

The USAV Joint Venture is one of two high-speed catamarans being tested as part of the Army’s Transformation plan.

Official U.S. Army Photo
Updated April 04, 2004
ABOARD THE USAV JOINT VENTURE X1, in the Yellow Sea -- More than 30 years have passed since the last Army helicopter landed onboard an Army ship, but Army aviators began a new chapter in history March 25 (2004) when they landed two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters aboard a new test vessel in the Yellow Sea.

The Black Hawks, assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, 17th Aviation Brigade, landed at 10:57 a.m. Korean Standard Time aboard the USAV Joint Venture X1 off the coast of Pyongtaek.

The helicopters offloaded passengers onto the deck of the ship, and then performed deck landing certification operations, which consists of each pilot landing on the deck of the vessel five times.

“This is awesome having Army aircraft landing on an Army vessel,” said Lt. Col. Steven Boylan, Public Affairs officer for 8th U.S. Army. “This is the first time an Army pilot has landed on an Army vessel in 30 years.”

Although this landing was historically significant, future deck landings aboard Army vessels is uncertain. The Army currently has no watercraft in its permanent inventory capable of supporting flight operations. The Joint Venture is the first of two military-leased modified high-speed catamarans being tested as part of the Army’s Transformation plan.

It is possible that this ship, and others like it, may find their way into the permanent inventory, which would give the Army the capability to rapidly move troops and equipment into previously inaccessible areas.

The ship stationed in Hawaii under the command of U.S. Army Pacific, was in the Korea theater of operations to support the Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration exercise, commonly referred to as RSO&I, that runs from March 21 to 29 throughout the peninsula.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Tim Turner, the operations officer for the Joint Venture, said the landing of Army aircraft on this ship is a milestone for both Army aviation and transportation.

“I think it’s going great,” said Turner. “It’s very exciting.” He said having an Army helicopter land on the aircraft is a validation of the capabilities of the Joint Venture. Army leadership will see the capabilities of this vessel and flight operations like Thursday’s will help pave the way for future vessels.

“We normally go to the Navy for deck certification,” said Boylan. “Hopefully, we will be able to do our own deck certification.”

The Army’s last deck landings occurred during the Vietnam War, when USNS Corpus Christy Bay was used as a helicopter maintenance ship. The Corpus Christy Bay was a U.S. Navy ship recommissioned by the Army in the mid-1960s. It retained the USNS portion of its name after the recommissioning.

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