Ghost Ship Takes Aim at Swarm Attacks
You may have seen a story last week about a company claiming to have developed “the first supercavitating ship”. Ships are not my thing, but I thought I would ask for more information and it arrived this morning (a paper press kit, via FedEx - which made me feel quite nostalgic).
Technical details are sparse, but here is what can be gleaned. The Ghost is a prototype small waterplane area twin hull (SWATH) ship designed by Portsmouth, N.H.-based Juliet Marine Systems (JMS) and built with the company founders’ own money.
The company’s aim is to interest the US Navy in a high-speed, long-range ship — the water-borne equivalent of an attack helicopter — that could intercept swarms of missile-equipped, small attack boats before they come in range of Navy warships.
Supercavitation — creating a bubble of air around a body in the water — can reduce hull friction drag by up to 900%, says JMS, increasing speed and reducing fuel consumption. A key to the Ghost design, the company says, is the ability to generate enough gas to create a boundary layer around the propulsion pods without taking power away from the propulsion system.
JMS claims the Ghost has the same maximum speed at the Mark V special-operations boat used by Navy SEALs, but a 50% higher burst speed, twice the range and greater stability in high sea states. The prototype, which is stealth in shape only, is sized to accommodate a SEAL squad, and JMS says a follow-on design would be air-transportable by C-17.