Defense officials were on San Diego Bay last month testing the performance of a new stealth watercraft during minesweeping exercises.
The Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation representatives joined the Coronado-based Naval Special Clearance Team 1 in cruising the shallow waters off Coronado and Imperial Beach to test the watercraft designed by San Diego-based M Ship Co. LLC during Exercise Howler.
About 35 crew on board the 80-foot-by-40-foot vessel, named M80 Stiletto, navigated through the littorals, while leaving only a trace of a wake signature behind. The double-M hull ship, identified by its two M-shaped hulls adjacent to each other, partially submerges 2 1/2 feet below water, and only 18 inches at high speed.
M Ship Co., a maritime design firm of 12 local employees, is working with a $750,000 contract from the Navy's Office of Naval Research to validate the M-hull technology. The contract, announced May 9, is available through the Navy Small Business Innovation Research office for second phase research of its captured air plenum design.
Navy Capt. Neil Parrott, who joined the local exercises to collect data for the Office of Force Transformation, said the Stiletto "outperformed our best expectations."
The unusually designed box-shaped craft made of lightweight carbon fiber instead of heavier steel has a stable platform for mounting electronic surveillance equipment.