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Stiletto “Bat Boat” Nabs Drug Runners

November 3, 2008

The DoD’s premier stealth boat is sent South for testing, an exercise it passes with flying colors! From Navy Times:

The Stiletto’s deployment last summer came together rapidly and included groups and organizations from across the U.S. military and law enforcement establishment, as well as Colombian authorities. While no bad guys were apprehended in Colombia, officers involved say the operation was a success — and proudly point to the successful chase and apprehension of a suspected drug-running boat in U.S. waters on the way home.

Interestingly, but not so surprising, the testing of this revolutionary craft is not a Navy-led effort:

Although the Navy supports the vessel, Stiletto “is owned by the secretary of defense,” Hruska noted. “When people have a new widget, it can take a lot of time to get that on a Navy ship. With Stiletto, there is no red tape. We can get stuff on board in under two weeks for testing.”

It’s a little harder to get the USN Big Ships up and running so quickly. They are also much harder to replace, afford, or get into service on time, unlike these smaller “Strykers of the Sea”:

“Everyone seems to focus on the hull form, and they miss the electronic keel,”  (Capt. James Hruska) said. “It’s a fancy Ethernet, 1 gigabyte, that runs from the bow to the stern and allows plug-and-play capabilities. Whatever sensor you bring on board, you can install it quickly. Say you bring on a camera. You can mount the camera in a few hours, then plug in your laptop and see what the camera is displaying. It doesn’t care what software you’re using, what your power supply needs are. It helps streamline the experimental process and facilitate the rapid testing of technologies.”

Here’s more on the crewing:

“The Army stepped up without hesitation,” he said. “They were the most flexible.”
The soldier-sailors came from the 7th Sustainment Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y. The 7th normally operates logistics, not combatant craft, but many had experience in operating high-speed vessels such as the Joint Venture and Swift. The Army crew of nine included two chief warrant officers qualified as craftmasters, or vessel commanders.
Combined with a Coast Guard LEDET to provide policing authority, the crew of Stiletto was set.

And all these “landlubbers” got seasick! But still the Stiletto proved a great success and it disturbs us the lack of interest posed by the Navy in this unique craft, which we have advocated as an opportunity for the service to restore numbers back to the Fleet. Such vessels might also be more useful in the type of littoral warfare the world is facing against Third World piracy, another area which Big Ship advocates have showed little interest until lately when the outcry from shipping companies have grown too enormous to ignore.

Galrahn, whose blog is getting a makeover, reported on this last month.

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