US Navy Christens Sea Fighter Experimental Littoral Surface Craft

Released on Saturday, February 5, 2005
United States of America
LCS Freedom
SH-60B Seahawk
LCS - Littoral Combat Ship
ONR - Office of Naval Research
The US Navy has released that it is expected to christen the first Littoral Surface Craft - Experimental (X-Craft), dubbed Sea Fighter, on Saturday, February 5, 2005, during a ceremony at Nichols Bros. Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, Washington. The Sea Fighter will be designated the first US Navy's fast sea frame.

This high-speed experimental ship is meant to test and help develop a variety of technologies that will contribute to operate US Navy's ships in the littoral environment or near the shore waters more effectively. Hydrodynamic performance, structural behavior, mission flexibility, and propulsion system efficiency will be evaluated using the Sea Fighter. The data gathered during the tests will contribute to develop new mission packages. Ultimately, Sea Fighter will serve as a risk reduction initiative for the US Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) and the US Coast Guard's Deepwater programs.

The construction of Sea Fighter, which responds to an aluminum-made catamaran, began in June 2003 with the laying of the keel. The vessel has 262-ft (80 meters) in length, displaces 950 tons, has a beam of 72-ft (22 meters) and a navigational draft of 11.5-ft (3.5 meters). The CODOG propulsion system consists of two gas turbines (LM2500), two diesel engines (MTU 595) and four Kamewa 125 SII waterjets provided by Rolls-Royce enabling the ship to reach speeds of 50 knots (90+ kph). The X-Craft's crew will consists of 16 sailors and 10 Coast Guardsmen.

The ship is able to travel 4,000 nautical miles across the ocean without being refueled. In addition, it has a large mission bay which can hold up to a dozen 20-foot mission modules. A multipurpose stern ramp, with direct access to the mission bay, allows Sea Fighter to launch and recover manned and unmanned surface and sub-surface vehicles while underway. Its flight deck has dual landing spots that can fit two H-60 helicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Titan Corporation is the main contractor for the program. The vessel was designed by United Kingdom-based Nigel Gee and Associates Limited for the US Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR). The four waterjets and the CODOG drive are a key elements for the X-Craft program providing high-speed, high-efficiency propulsion as well as outstanding maneuverability in shallow waters.


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