The Bow Ramp

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Navy Concept Cars

No, the Navy doesn't make automobiles, but over the years, the Navy has created a number of "concept" ships and craft to study the feasibility of various technologies. As in the automobile world, most of these never make it into production, but the technologies frequently make their way into the fleet. This post prompted by a photo over at Castle Argghhh!!! I thought I'd put up a few photos of various Navy concepts that have been built over the years and comment on what became of them. All of these platforms were built (among other things) to test various methods of overcoming one of the principle problems of operating small, patrol-type ships -- the rough ride.

First up is the PGH. There were two of them built and they were used to evaluate the concept of hydrofoils. Hydrofoils eventually were used in the PHMs. That was a class of six patrol boats that were eventually decommissioned. One reason for decommissioning was because two of them ran aground at high speed; causing extensive damage and injuries.

The next three examples are the Sea Slice, Sea Shadow, and Sea Fighter. All three of these experimentals are variations of catamaran/semi-submerged hull form. Although not as fast as a hydrofoil, these hulls can carry more payload and if something (like an engine) fails, the results aren't nearly as catastrophic. The catamaran hull seems to have a lot of potential and the Sea Fighter is probably close to something the Navy could produce in fairly large numbers.