August 12, 2002
11:28 AM   Subscribe

This baby, a Norwegian coastal defense high-tech catamaran can travel at 60mph, fool radar and ride 5 feet above the water was in Washington, D.C. recently cruising the Chesapeake Bay to possibly be bought by the US Navy.
posted by stbalbach (12 comments total)
I thought that the Navy recently scrapped all the military hydrofoils that filled this niche. Seems kind of wasteful to me. (Wasteful? The military? Naaaah....)
posted by ptermit at 12:36 PM on August 12, 2002

Why is it painted in a desert camouflage when it's obviously a sea-borne vehicle?
posted by poq at 12:37 PM on August 12, 2002

Doesn't look too stealth to me. I spotted it in about three seconds.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:10 PM on August 12, 2002

A painting system with high IR absorption properties and a colour pattern to reduce optical signature measured for typical Norwegian coastal waters contributes to a balanced low level of signatures. (from their website).

Apparently Norwegian coastal waters look like deserts.
posted by mfli at 1:22 PM on August 12, 2002

Sweet! If only it was nuclear powered. . .
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:50 PM on August 12, 2002

We have high-speed hydrofoils like this connecting the Greek islands with the main land. Several are large enough to ferry cars as well. Great way to go as you can take your car to an island in half the time that it takes you on a regular ferry, but the creature comforts are awefully airplane-like (although some are getting more luxurious).

As for the stealthiness, my good ole aero skills say that although that craft maybe stealthy at line of sight or just over the horizon, any decent satellite can spot that wake in about a second flat. That's all you may need though, to launch a missile attack, for example.
posted by costas at 1:51 PM on August 12, 2002

Apparently Norwegian coastal waters look like deserts.

Hard to tell when it's raining all the time.

Seriously, though, with an insanely long coastline for such a small country, it's relatively easy to hide from either eyes or radar.

Camouflaging ships is tricky since they're travelling on a monochromatic, mostly flat surface. The tradition of painting strange shapes onto ships, called "dazzle painting" dates back to WWI, where the goal was to make it hard to identify the ship, its direction and speed (esp. in a convoy- think Zebras), and hard to target a specific area with a torpedo or other weapon. Take a look here.

That is a ridiculous wake, though...
posted by kahboom at 2:07 PM on August 12, 2002

Was anyone else expecting it to be a little, ummm... bigger? I mean, it's talking about how it has the radar signature of a fishing boat, but, geez, it's ridiculously small.

Just take a peek at this secret behind-the-scenes photo.
posted by tsitzlar at 2:15 PM on August 12, 2002

tsitzlar: And they say it holds a crew of 15. It's the naval equivalent of a clown-car.
posted by Monk at 2:58 PM on August 12, 2002

There was also a post about WIG boats (a cross between a hovercraft and an airplane) a little while back.
posted by piskycritter at 3:11 PM on August 12, 2002

The features of this ship are expected to be common in 21st century naval designs, such as the US Navy's next-generation DD(X) Project, (Northrop Grumman won the contract), which is expected to yield a destroyer, a cruiser, and a littoral combat ship, and the CVX next-generation carrier. (This year the Navy takes delivery of the USS Ronald Reagan, CVN-76; the next to be delivered, in 2008, is CVN-77, , essentially the last of the Nimitz class, which will be a transitional design.

Here's an article from last year on Navy's interest in catamarans, which contains some interesting resonances with today's events, as well as some anachronisms. Key point: the Navy was wowed by the Aussie's Jervis Bay catamaran. I've noted here before how the Navy is rethinking its role in providing forward bases for special operations and expeditionary forces, as the USS Kitty Hawk did during Enduring Freedom; they call it seabasing.
posted by dhartung at 3:20 PM on August 12, 2002

"Traditionally, the Navy has been a blue-water navy. In the wake of 9/11, they need to look at all the options of working in brown water."

There's a joke in there, but I'm chicken.
posted by Tacodog at 3:46 PM on August 12, 2002

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