SP Engineered Boat Wins SEAL of Approval

24 June 2008

The United States Navy has benefitted from SP’s expertise in marine composites with the redesign of the Mark V Marine Special Operations Craft.

SP, the marine business of Gurit, supplied a range of composite materials and an engineering advisory package for the development of a new prototype 83-foot patrol boat, nicknamed MAKO. Hull testing for MAKO is being conducted by the Office of Naval Research and is expected to show that MAKO’s design will be safer and more resilient.

The current aluminium boats used to transport United States Navy SEALs (SEa, Air and Land) on medium range missions are a potential source of injuries and fatigue, with the power of impact when hitting waves at high speed sufficient to cause neck, back or joint injuries. The design brief for the new boat was therefore to reduce this threat of injury to boat operators and crew by absorbing the impact of a vessel that can crash through waves at speeds of 50 plus knots.

Working as part of an elite team of industry experts brought together by Maine Marine Manufacturing - including boat builders Hodgdon Yachts, University of Maine’s Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center and Donald L. Blount and Associates – SP was able to apply in-depth engineering knowledge to ensure maximum performance from the materials used.

The result is a vessel that yields impressive and improved performance when compared against Mark V aluminium boats currently in service. As a result of being constructed using SP’s Corecell A-Foam and Prime 20LV resin and hardener with carbon and aramid skins, the new vessel is designed to absorb a high percentage of impact and is 50% stronger and 6000lbs lighter than the Mark V.

“SP’s product and expertise have been essential to the successful development of the Mark V.1 patrol boat and we and our partners have relished the technical challenges in achieving a greatly improved vessel,” said Jean-Pierre Mouligne, Sales Manager for Gurit North America. “The new materials have not only increased the durability of the boat and reduced the vessel’s weight but testing should show that MAKO is a safer, stronger vessel, far more suitable for the rigours of tough work in active service.”

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