The Navy’s need for speed is being answered by a pair of warships that have reached freeway speeds during testing at sea.
Independence, a 418-foot warship built in Alabama, boasts a top speed in excess of 45 knots, or about 52 mph, and sustained 44 knots for four hours during builder trials that wrapped up this month off the Gulf Coast. The 378-foot Freedom, a ship built in Wisconsin by a competing defense contractor, has put up similar numbers.
Both versions of the Littoral Combat Ship use powerful diesel engines, as well as gas turbines for extra speed. They use steerable waterjets instead of propellers and rudders and have shallower drafts than conventional warships, letting them zoom close to shore.
The ships, better able to chase down pirates, have been fast-tracked because the Navy wants vessels that can operate in coastal, or littoral, waters. Freedom is due to be deployed next year, two years ahead of schedule.
Independence is an aluminum, tri-hulled warship built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. The lead contractor is Maine’s Bath Iron Works, a subsidiary of General Dynamics.
Lockheed Martin Corp. is leading the team that built Freedom in Marinette, Wis. It looks more like a conventional warship, with a single hull made of steel.
The stakes are high for both teams. The Navy plans to select Lockheed Martin or General Dynamics, but not both, as the builder. The Navy has ordered one more ship from each of the teams before it chooses the final design. Eventually, the Navy wants to build up to 55 of them.
Speed has long been relished by Navy skippers. Capt. John Paul Jones, sometimes described as father of the U.S. Navy, summed it up this way in 1778: “I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm’s way.”
via Navy’s newest warships top out at more than 50 mph – Yahoo! News.
This made me think about the fastest sea creatures. It seems only a Mako Shark or a Sailfish could beat the new US Navy now. Master_Algie on funtrivia.com posted this:
From my research, I found the same fishy and the same speed – sailfish topping out a 68.18 mph. Other fast marine dwellers include:
Mako Shark, Isurus oxyrinchus: 60 mph
Marlin, Tetrapturus sp. 50 mph
Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri 48.5 mph
Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus thynnus 43.4 mph
Blue Shark, Prionace glauca 43 mph
Bonefish, Albula vulpes 40 mph
Swordfish, Xiphius gladius 40 mph
The sea horse at 0.01 mph is the slowest.