PT Boats Make a Comeback
That’s Strategypage‘s analogy on the Stiletto stealth craft, and I like it!
Stiletto was originally designed for use with U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command), but since then, it has been used to seek out and catch drug smuggler boats, using army and civilian crews. One recent night, the Stiletto spotted such a boat, and there ensued a high speed chase. Seeing that the Stiletto was catching up, the drug runners headed for some shallow water, not realizing that the Stiletto could handle that as well. The drug boat and its crew were captured.
Interesting story, but since Stiletto is a small boat and cost way under a billion dollars, the brass can’t find a job for it:
The Department of Defense doesn’t know what to do with Stiletto itself, although the unique shape seems to work, and the carbon fiber material the boat was built of seems to be holding up to years of heavy seas. The Stiletto is 45 tons empty, and thus could be hoisted aboard a cargo ship for transport to any part of the world.
Oh, I don’t know, maybe chasing down pirates with speed boats that seek shelter in the narrow waters off Somalia? Nah, we’ve got missile battleships and aircraft carriers that can do that mission way better, right? But what about defending the Big Ships against suicide boats, operating with the USCG to defend our harbors, escort our spy ships, and perhaps doing some stealthy spying of our own, plus working with Special Forces. Stiletto could be useful in training with our myriad allies which possess small attack craft, and could help deter against Iran and other aggressors with their own attack boat fleets. They could even ferry Marines to shore like an infantry fighting vehicle, but on the sea!
Anyway, concerning the title:
In some respects, the Stiletto is an update of the World War II PT boat, which were the same length, but narrower and shorter. PT boats had the same range and speed, but a larger crew (12-18) to handle the torpedoes and machine-guns carried.
Another small boat that didn’t get its due fame until it was actually put to use in war.