Wednesday, 10 February 2010 04:15
by Tiffany Sukola | Variety News Staff
Army bares high speed vessels plan for Guam
IF THE U.S. Army’s plan to station three Joint High Speed Vessels in Apra Harbor pushes through, Guam residents may have to put up with five to six months of live-fire training each year.
Guam is one of the locations being considered to station up to three high-speed vessels, designed to support the rapid transport of military troops and equipment.
According to an Army news release, the vessels require fueling at sea training, helicopter aviation training and live-fire training.
While the release noted that the Army is looking for sites that could reasonably accommodate the JHSV’s requirement for live-fire training, it wasn’t specified if the training would take place on Guam or at an off-island location.
Home sites for the vessels would only be used to support the berthing and training requirements in and around the stationing location for 170 days per year because the watercrafts will spend an estimated 150 days or more on deployment.
The Army is eyeing Guam as a possible station for the vessels because of the island’s existing port and maintenance facilities.
The high-speed vessels come with a 31-member crew but can accommodate up to 350 additional soldiers. The vessel can reach speeds of 35-45 knots and has the capacity to carry approximately 700 short tons.
The vessels also come with weapons mount for crew-served weapons, a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to drive off the ship quickly.
Last week, the Army announced that public comments identifying environmental issues and concerns regarding the presence and operation of the high speed vessels will be accepted until March 5.
While Army officials are already studying sites on Guam, U.S. Army Environmental Command Public Affairs Specialist Cathy Kropp said input from local residents and government agencies are still necessary.
Kropp also said that the Army is aware of the existing draft environmental impact statement that outlines the U.S. Navy’s plans for Apra Harbor.
The public comments being sought by the U.S. Army Environmental Command will be used to draft the programmatic environmental impact statement, which will study the potential impacts to air quality, airspace, cultural resources and marine life on various sites around the island if the vessels were stationed locally.