Stiletto: Ultra-light Wave-piercing Navy Ship

The story from the almost defunct Office of Force Transformation is that carbon fiber and wave-piercing tunnel hulls can achieve great efficiencies. This is very different from the old style of “shock and awe” city-sized mega-ships:

Stiletto is an 80 by 40 foot wave piercing hull built entirely of carbon fiber. It’s unique “M-Hull” shape (See figure 1) is designed to channel is the energy that normally is produced as wake in a conventional V-Hull craft up under the craft into tunnels created by the M-shaped hull form. […] Capable of speeds up to 50 knots, the craft passively lifts itself out of the water about a foot as it speeds along reducing drag.

So here you have a 60 ton, 88 foot long, 40 foot wide $6M ship launched in 2005. It is said to be in active duty fighting drug cartels. Awesome.

This is the A-Class of Navy warships. Sure they have short range, but nothing puts a smile on your face like efficiency on the water.

Here is the most interesting part:

The wave action and resulting rough ride of the V-Hull has, over the years, taken their toll on these SEALs such that nearly a third of them are medically discharged within just 10 years of service due to the pounding G-forces applied to their bodies.

Is that true? Soldiers can only make it 10 years if they ride on V-Hull boats?

The pounding and crashing from fast-speeds over waves seems quite different to me than G-force effects that drain blood, for example. I mean people already have isolated the issue of hull pounding and solved much of it with foils that lift, no?

In similar news the BOR90 continues to amaze everyone with its efficiency:

While sailing upwind in no more than 9 knots of breeze, they heeled the boat enough to sail on only the leeward float, making even speed with our media boat at roughly 26 knots.

Converting less than 10 knots of wind into 26 knots of speed on the water is cool. The top speed of this thing is expected to break 50 knots, which means (aside from rough weather) it could take on the Stilleto with none of the fuel issues. And it cost $60/lb to build, which is a mere $10/lb more than the Stilleto. Larry Ellison is definitely the type of guy to spend more than the Pentagon on a boat.

Just to re-iterate, the future of vessels clearly is in ultra-light wave-piercing multi-hulls. The V is as dated as the SUV…then again I do not see many people ready to convert to a more efficient model.

Might take a decade or so before we see widespread changes. Imagine Navy fleets of high-speed drone swarms launched from tubes instead of carriers with decks and associated destroyers, and two-seaters that snap together for high-speeds and communicate with one another to navigate.

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