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Monday, February 07, 2005

Littoral Surface Craft- Experimental

A new surface warfare toy here- zowie! (Update: Navy caption:050204-N-7676W-193 Whidbey Island, Wash. (Feb. 4, 2005) – The Littoral Surface Craft-Experimental (X-Craft), christened Sea Fighter (FSF 1), at Nichols Bros. Boat Builders in Freeland, Whidbey Island, Wash., will be used to evaluate the hydrodynamic performance, structural behavior, mission flexibility, and propulsion system of high-speed vessels. The X-Craft is a high-speed aluminum catamaran that will test a variety of technologies, which will allow the Navy to operate more effectively in littoral or near-shore waters. U.S. Navy photo by John F. Williams (RELEASED))

More info

"Our fleet doesn't battle the Japanese fleet out on the deep, blue sea anymore," said Cmdr. Mark Thomas, leader of the project, which has totaled about $73 million.

Today's conflicts are more likely to involve nations without navies, or terrorist groups that turn a fishing boat into a suicide weapon.

Small vessels that can operate close to shore could be used for a variety of missions, from detecting and defusing mines, to hunting submarines hiding in the shallows and intercepting enemy supply boats, Thomas explained.

The Sea Fighter is able to enter waters as shallow as 11 feet. The catamaran shape gives it a capacious deck, which can carry two helicopters. A wide ramp in the stern can launch and retrieve small boats, underwater drones or remote sensors.

The U.S. is not alone in this, here's a Chinese coastal catamaran Update: Info here.
Close up of the FAC 2208 here.

High speed, low drag (literally).

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