Here’s a great rear shot of the USS Swift clearly showing the ramp:
A Stern on view showing the US Navy (USN) High Speed Vessel, USS SWIFT (HSV 2) conducting unassisted mooring operations at Souda Bay, Crete, Greece, during a port visit. The SWIFT is assigned to Commander Mine Warfare Command (COMINEWARCOM) Ingleside, Texas. 12 Jan 2006
Pics of the ramp in action below.
These two pics were taken during Operation UNIFIED ASSISTANCE, the 2005 Indonesian tsunami relief effort. The Swift has also shown up in relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina and in Lebanon this past summer.
The Swift, is, um, rather fast. She can make nearly 50 knots. The RORO (Roll On, Roll Off) capability makes this vessel doubly valuable as her shallow draft (11 feet) means she can get places most transports cannot and she can unload her own cargo when she gets there.
Here is the Swift’s predecessor and the Army’s high speed vessel:
Sealift vehicles belonging to the US Navy (USN) and US Army (USA) sit together pier side under the watchful eye of both the US and Kuwaiti harbor patrol. The Navy’s Joint Venture (HSV-X1) (left) and the Army’s Spearhead (TSV-1X) are high-speed catamarans designed and built by INCAT Australia shipbuilders. The joint-service vessel design was coordinated by the Navys Warfare Development Command in close partnership with elements of the USA, USN, US Marine Corps (USMC) and US Coast Guard (USCG). The vessels impressive speed can move troops and equipment into a theater of operations quicker than current military transport vehicles. The ability to carry such loads is a considerable saving, in both time and money, when compared to using military and commercial aircraft. Operation ENDURING FREEDOM is the first time the craft have been deployed together in support of military operations. 25 Feb 2003
I’ve heard nothing negative about these ships. They’re leased commercial ships being used as a testbeds, but we should be getting more of them. Unfortunately, designing a building a milspec version would probably cost five billion dollars, take ten years, and then not work right.