Intermarine Delivers First Of Minehunter Class
Intermarine USA of Savannah, Ga. completed and delivered the first ship of a new class of Minehunter for the U.S. Navy, the USS Osprey, MHC 51, Coastal Minehunter. The ship is the first major vessel to be built of glass reinforced plastic for the U.S. Navy. According to Intermarine, the U.S. Navy selected its glass reinforced plastic as a material not only because it is non-magnetic, but also because of its high shock resistance, its noise and vibration damping characteristics (reportedly six times better than steel); its weight (30 percent lighter than steel); and because of its excellent fire and ballistic protection per unit weight.
The ship will remain at the Intermarine shipyard during the Post Delivery Availability period, and will be formally commissioned on November 20, 1993. The Osprey will then sail to the U.S. Naval base at Charleston, S.C. Following further U.S. Navy ship trials, the vessel will be homeported at Ingleside, Texas in the spring of 1994.
The delivery of the first ship represents the culmination of a successful technology transfer from Italy to the U.S.
In 1986 Intermarine SpA of Sarzana, Italy, was invited by the U.S. Navy to transfer its composite material design and production technology to the U.S. to support the new Coastal Minehunter program. In response, Intermarine USA was established in 1987 following a U.S. Navy contract to build large minehunters using composite materials.
Construction of the Osprey, the lead ship of the MHC-51 Minehunter Class, started in May 1988, one year after the original contract award. The class is 188 feet long with a 900-ton displacement, and is equipped with modern variable depth sonar and an integrated digital control system.
The composite materials fabrication building at Intermarine USA has an area of more than 160,000-sq.-ft. and is equipped with six semiautomatic resin/glass impregnators on fullyarticulated bridge cranes. The facility is large enough to house six minehunter vessels or molds, all undercover, simultaneously. Overhead crane service can accommodate loads of up to 66 tons, while the building rail system is used to move complete ship hulls.
Intermarine USA regularly accesses the related composite technologies provided by Ferruzzi companies worldwide. In particular, Intermarine SpA, Tencara, both in Italy and SP Systems in California, combined with Intermarine in Savannah, Ga. to provide a complete capability in the development and manufacturing of advanced composites for marine, aerospace and industrial use. Of particular interest are the carbon fiber/epoxy/honeycomb The Osprey's crew at its August 23 delivery. core yachts and offshore racing boats. Vessels up to 200 feet long have been successfully built to date and a 118-foot, 50-knot Surface Effect Ship is currently under construction. In addition, a number of fast patrol boats have been constructed using glass and aramid hybrid fabrics, as well as numerous glass reinforced plastic recreational and government agency vessels. In support of the Minehunter program and other contracts, Intermarine has established Technical and Integrated Logistics Support departments staffed with experienced engineers, designers and logisticians.
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