The Navy will christen the experimental X-Craft Sea Fighter and designate it as the first Fast Sea Frame, Saturday, Feb. 5, during a noon PST ceremony at Nichols Bros. Boat Builders, Whidbey Island, Wash.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, will deliver the principal address. His wife, Lynne Hunter, is the ships sponsor. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen the ship "Sea Fighter."
The high-speed, experimental vessel will test a variety of technologies that will allow the Navy to operate more effectively in littoral, or near-shore, waters. Sea Fighter will be used to evaluate the hydrodynamic performance, structural behavior, mission flexibility, and propulsion system efficiency of high-speed vessels, and will also serve as a test bed for developmental mission packages. It will serve as a risk reduction, experimental vessel for the Littoral Combat Ship and Coast Guards Deepwater Program concept of operation development at sea.
The keel of the aluminum catamaran was laid in June 2003, is 262 feet in length and displaces 950 tons. The ship has a beam of 72 feet and a navigational draft of 11.5 feet. Two gas turbine engines, two propulsion diesels and two waterjets will power Sea Fighter to speeds reaching 50 knots. The Sea Fighters crew will consist of 16 Navy sailors and 10 Coast Guardsmen.
For more information and graphics of the Sea Fighter, please visit the Office of Naval Research website at http://www.onr.navy.mil/media .