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
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.
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).
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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