News Item

The new look for the US Navy: Today's military conflicts are more likely to involve nations without navies, or terrorist groups that turn a fishing boat into a suicide weapon. So instead of focusing on new blue water technology, the US Navy is testing out a new class of ships that will be lighter, faster and more suited to today's military and maritime realities. The 262-foot Sea Fighter, christened last week, is the first prototype to be tested. This souped-up version of a high-speed passenger catamaran, built by Nichols Brothers Boat Builders, can go into waters as shallow as 11 feet. The deck can carry two helicopters and the stern can retrieve small boats and underwater drones. Its cargo bay can accommodate 12 shipping containers, each capable of holding gear needed for vastly different missions. The highly maneuverable ship can travel at 50 knots, and possibly as high as 60. The Navy's next prototypes will be bigger, but if Sea Fighter performs well, it may find a place for itself in the future Navy. See "'Sea Fighter' alters the look of the Navy," Sandi Doughton, Seattle Times at The State.com, 2/9/05.

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