What happens when the military builds an innovative new ship that is built within budget and on schedule? Nothing, and that's the problem. The Pentagon's now-shuttered Office of Force Transformation paid M Ship in San Diego to build the Batman-esque craft, called Stiletto, as an experiment in all-carbon shipbuilding. The stealthy, fast ship seemed a natural for special operations, and possibly as an alternative to the very troubled Littoral Combat Ship, the Navy's new shallow-water ship.
Several months ago, M Ship Co. hired Duane Morris Government Affairs to raise its profile on Capitol Hill. The goal for this year is to secure $1.5 million in research and development funds in the defense authorization and appropriations bills to study the use of the M-hull design for a littoral combat-type scenario. That money would go towards designing a ship in less than a year. Ultimately, the company’s goal is to have a steady funding line starting in fiscal 2009, company executive director and co-founder Bill Burns said.
The current Stiletto platform could be doubled or tripled and can be used as an actual Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) or for a variety of ships complementing the Navy’s prized LCS.
Given the troubled state of the Pentagon's other ship programs, Congress may well be agreeable to support a company that claims to have innovative (and affordable) technology.