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UPDATE 1/14: Due to weather, the departure time for the maiden deployment of USNS Spearhead (JHSV 1) has been delayed by 24 hours, until Thursday.


NORFOLK-The Navy's first joint high-speed vessel is leaving this week on its first deployment and she's headed the 6th Fleet area.

USNS Spearhead is based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Ft. Story.

The 22 civilian mariners' deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet will last until May and then they'll move to the 4th Fleet area through year's end, the Navy said. While deployed, the ship will undergo planned testing to learn about the ship's operational capabilities.

Spearhead is a 338-foot-long aluminum catamaran designed for speed, flexibility and maneuverability. It has re-configurable 20,000-square-foot mission bay area can be quickly adapted to support a number of different missions - from carrying containerized portable hospitals to support disaster relief to transporting tanks and troops.

The Spearhead is part of the Navy's Military Sealift Command.

The ship leaves Wednesday.

The Navy has plans for 10 such vessels.

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