M Ship Co recently announced the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research has awarded the firm a $750,000 contract, including options, to validate the potential of the innovative M-hull technology. The Navy Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract calls for tank testing and sea trials for the M-hull technology, and the development of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools for quantifying the hull's performance. Earlier this month, M Ship Co. delivered the M 80 Stiletto, an 88-foot vessel that uses the patented M-hull technology. M Ship Co. built the M 80 Stiletto for the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation (OFT) as part of the OFT's Wolf PAC Distributed Operations Experiment, conducted in association with USSOCOM. The Navy SBIR
contract announced today represents phase II of research into the M-hull. Phase I of the study, conducted in 2003 and 2004, studied the hydrodynamic phenomena of the M-hull as a captured air plenum design, investigated performance prediction methods and evaluated its potential as a future Naval ship concept, with the Stiletto being one variant of the concept. The proprietary M-hull technology
has demonstrated the ability to transcend the limitations of conventional hull form categories. The hull geometry and the captured air plenums allow the ship to automatically and naturally seek the most efficient form of lift-displacement, hydrodynamic, and aerodynamic— depending on speed, payload and sea condition. In initial testing, the M 80 Stiletto has achieved speeds over 50 knots while maintaining an exceptionally smooth ride quality. The vessel's shallow draft also enables it to operate in littoral, or shallow-water regions, an area of particular focus for the Navy. The M 80 Stiletto marks a breakthrough in naval architecture and provides a stable yet fast platform for mounting electronic surveillance equipment or weapons, or for conducting special operations.