NetComposites
Advanced Engineering 2018

Carbon Fibre Vessel Launched

10 February 2006

M Ship Co. has launched the M80 Stiletto, a carbon fibre ship designed as an example of the next generation of military vessels.

The M80 Stiletto is part of the vision for a more adaptive force using high numbers of smaller, faster networked vessels designed for littoral, or near shore, waters and costing less to build than conventional ships.

“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 Diego-based M Ship Co. and a former deputy secretary of state with Henry Kissinger.

The 88-foot long vessel marks a breakthrough in naval architecture, featuring M Ship Co.’s patented M-shaped hull that provides a stable yet fast platform for mounting electronic surveillance equipment or weapons, or for conducting special operations. The hull design does not require foils or lifting devices to achieve a smooth ride at high speeds in rough conditions. Its shallow draft means the M80 Stiletto can operate in river environments and potentially allows for beach landings. The fuel-efficient M80 Stiletto is equipped with four Caterpillar engines, yielding a top speed in excess of 50 knots (nearly 60 miles per hour) when fully loaded and can be outfitted with jet drives for shallow water operations and beaching.

“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 M Ship Co., noting that the military is also interested in 40- and 120-foot 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.”

The M80 Stiletto is also notable because it is the largest U.S. Naval vessel built using carbon fibre composite and epoxy building techniques, which yields a very light, but strong hull.

M Ship Co. leveraged its network of collaborative partners and subcontractors to build the M80 Stiletto in less than one year. Systems provided the carbon fibre technology for the composite hull and the vessel was built by National City-based Knight & Carver YachtCenter.






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