The M80 Stilletto U.S. Navy’s close to shore search and rescue, stealth and strike capabilities are about to receive a massive upgrade in the form of the experimental M80 Stilletto Littoral vessel.
The next-gen M80, developed by M Ship Co, is designed to meet requirements set by Pentagons Office for Force Transformation – a division of the Department of Defense that supports the development of new and often unorthodox defense technologies – which called for a high-speed military vessel, able to operate in the shallow littoral waters of seas and rivers, in support of USN 9ret) Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski’s vision of ‘brown-water navy’ for expeditionary combat in the 21st century –
The prototype, M80 is 88ft long, and 40 feet wide, and designed to fit inside an amphibious assault ship (L-SHIP) for easy transportation.
M Ship Co. M80 Stiletto
The patented M hull is made from carbon fiber composite, which is both lightweight and extremely tough, and uses a technology known as ‘bow wave energy’ to create an air cushion for more efficient planing – hydrodynamic lift that propels the vessel above the water.
This stiff, ‘Wide and Shallow’ hull provides many advantages of ‘Long & Skinny’ conventional displacement, which enables the craft to perform like a much larger vessel. The m-shaped hull not only increases speed but also reduces drag shock and wake, and with almost no displacement, the M80 will not damage any underwater structures or marine life.
M80 Stiletto Littoral Vessel
The M80 has a top speed of 50-60, and can perform tight flat 360 degree turns with less than 10 percent loss of vessel speed.
The unusually wide based provides a large open interior to house a SEAL team, all surveillance and communications technology; a 2000 square ft rectangular deck area to carry large payloads, and also makes for an extremely smooth ride at high speeds.
Amongst the wide variety of payloads the vessel is designed to carry, the M80 can house an 11m rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) that support a 12 man SEAL team, and 4 silver fox unmanned aerial vehicles. This allows the SEAL team to be delivered just miles from the target, instead of travelling the long distances from an amphibious mothership in an uncomfortable, less-equipped RHIB.
The M80 is the largest carbon fiber composite vessel ever built, and was designed, developed and delivered in little over a year to demonstrate the ability reduce construction and life-cylce costs, whilst improving performance and capabilities.
Although the prototype was never intended for deployment, it has been used in Trident Warrior joint-force exercise off the California coast and was part of an operation that resulted in the capture of 1,800lbs of cocaine.
M Ship Co is now in the process of developing the next-gen STILETTO ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance). This variant will focus on mainly on the use of unmanned systems, and will offer easy launch, support and retrieval capabilities.