The Sea Shadow goes quietly into the night
May 4, 2012 2:23 PM Subscribe
posted by startled (54 comments total)
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The Sea Shadow
is a prototype stealth ship built thirty years ago for the US Navy, and the only ship ever designed by the Lockheed Skunk Works. Like its airborne cousin, the F-117 Nighthawk
, it is nearly invisible to radar. It is extremely stable in high seas, has no conventional rudder, and requires a minimum crew of only four to operate.
Despite the successful field trials and futuristic technology, the Navy passed on the program and the boat sat largely unused. At 5PM central time, the auction ends that will send the Sea Shadow to the scrapyard
. Pictures will soon be all that is left, but check out this extensive virtual tour
The GSA Auction site for the Sea Shadow and the HMB-1 (get your bids in soon!)
Construction of the ship was hidden inside the Hughes Mining Barge, also on the auction block and itself a storied vessel. It was originally built for Project Azorean, a top-secret project to salvage a sunken Soviet submarine (Previously).
Previously on MetaFilter, an account of urban explorers who snuck onto the Suisun Bay mothball fleet to photograph the derelict ships, including the Sea Shadow. Another account of those expeditions.
The program’s development and the field trial results are described in a chapter of Ben Rich’s autobiography Skunk Works, which also recounts the development of the U-2, SR-71, and F-117.
This 2009 Wall Street Journal article describes the unsuccessful hunt for a maritime museum willing to house the ships.