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The M80 Stiletto was developed for high-speed, shallow-water operations deemed critical to the 21st century navy. The craft features the breakthrough composite M-hull design that gives it many distinct advantages.
(Published on April 2006 – JEC Magazine #24)
MShipCo has officially launched the M80 Stiletto, designed as an operational experiment for the Pentagon’s Office of Force Transformation (OFT). The M80 Stiletto is an example of the next generation of military vessels that combines new materials, such as carbon fibre, with a networked architecture and a revolutionary hull. The initiative is part of OFT’s Wolf PAC Distributed Operations Experiment (conducted in association with USSOCOM) to explore command and control of autonomous and semiautonomous military forces that are geographically dispersed, but networked.
“We are confident that the M80 Stiletto’s design is superior to all other existing technologies. Nothing else is out there that can achieve the qualities important to brown water vessels at a relatively low cost, with short design and production cycles,” said Chuck Robinson, co-founder of San Diegobased MShipCo and a former deputy secretary of state with Henry Kissinger.
A revolutionary hull taking advantage of composites
The 27-metre-long vessel marks a breakthrough in naval architecture. It features MShipCo’s patented M-shaped hull, which provides a stable yet fast platform for mounting electronic surveillance equipment or weapons, or for conducting special operations. The M80 Stiletto is also notable because it is the largest U.S. naval vessel built using carbon-fibre composite and epoxy building techniques, such as filament winding, which gives the ship a very light but strong hull, translating into higher durability and boat speed. SP Systems provided the carbon fibre technology for the composite hull.
“The M-hull form creates a natural surface effect that not only enhances top-speed performance, but uses the bow wave energy to reduce the overall wake signature,” said Bill Burns, co-founder of MShipCo, noting that the military is also interested in 12- and 36-metre vessels of similar design. “This makes the boat faster and more manoeuvrable because it remains flat with almost no heeling, even during high-speed turns. The vessel’s proprietary design also gives it a low-radar profile.”