The development of the unique trimaran warship reached perhaps its most significant milestone when the demonstrator, RV Triton, was delivered two months early by Vosper Thornycroft
. The ship took just 20 months to build despite an unprecedented number of challenges in building the advanced 97 m ship. It will start 18 months of trials in October.
Approximately 500 sensors will monitor the stresses and performance of the hull form as the Triton, whose crew will include up to 12 scientists, undergoes a demanding trials program in European and Atlantic waters, trials which will also involve the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA).
The slender hull form with its outriggers is designed to significantly reduce drag over an equivalent monohull, offering lower resistance which would permit higher speeds with reduced machinery. The longer, narrower form is also designed to give improved seakeeping performance.
Stage three of the project follows after a mini-refit in 2004 that will enhance the vessel's trial capabilities.