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May 10, 2004

Navy mammals may get smoother commute

Art Anderson Associates, Bremerton, Wash., has completed Phase I of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to evaluate the Stolkraft hull form as an alternative to the Navy's 11-meter Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) in the transportation of marine mammals.

This SBIR topic was issued to address the excessive slamming loads being experienced by Navy Special Clearance Team (NSCT-1) forces on their current 11-meter RIB. The Stolkraft's tri-hulled forebody and midship step, allows lubricating air to be introduced under the boat simply by its forward motion.

This action provides an air cushion as the boat drops onto the oncoming waves. It also significantly reduces frictional drag and provides speed/power/fuel characteristics superior to catamarans and mono-hulls.

The Stolkraft's twin-hulled aftbody and recess, channels and dissipates wake energy--producing minimal levels of wake/wash.

In Phase I, tests of an existing Stolkraft showed that it experienced lower vertical accelerations than the U.S. Navy 10-meter RIB under similar test conditions. A concept design was also produced based on the NSCT-1 operational requirements established during the Phase I kick-off meeting.

If selected for Phase II, the Navy and Art Anderson Associates will initialize a Phase I Option period to finalize all of the intended operational requirements, which may include other aspects of the NSCT-1 mission and any other possible operator missions.

From these requirements, Art Anderson Associates will develop a prototype detail design. Phase II is expected to be awarded by June 30, 2004. During Phase II, detail design of the prototype will be completed and a full-scale prototype will be constructed. During Phase III, the prototype will be tested and may include the procurement of additional vessels by the U.S. Navy

The test results from Phase I demonstrated that the Stolkraft experienced vertical accelerations lower than the Navy 10 M RIB in similar tests by as much as to 64% lower in head seas, 57% lower in off-the-bow seas, 11% lower in beam seas and 48% lower in following seas. Because of its greater beam, the Stolkraft also exhibits better roll stability characteristics than the traditional mono-hull.

The collected wake/wash data shows a significantly lower wash signature than most other vessels. Art Anderson Associates has proposed to incorporate Power-Vent propulsor technology in the prototype design.

This technology promises to provide safe high-performance operations with lower engine exhaust signature. This vessel concept will be able to service multi-mission requirements including autonomous underwater vehicle operations, unmanned operations, and on-board remotely operated weapons, both lethal and non-lethal.

Art Anderson Associates is the owner of the North American patent rights and is the worldwide design agent for Stolkraft vessels.

This is the Art Anderson's second SBIR project for the U.S. Navy, the first contract was for the U.S. Navy's Improved Navy Lighterage System (INLS) Phases I, II, and III completed last year.

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