US Navy Orders Demonstration Craft from Willard Marine
Willard Marine, Inc. (WMI) announced it has been selected through a solicitation process to supply a demonstration model of a new, advanced combatant craft for the U.S. Navy under an SBIR contract modification awarded to Structural Composites, Inc.
Under the contract, WMI will design, construct and test a fleet-ready version of an advanced combatant craft incorporating foam/fiberglass extrusion technology developed by Structural Composites. The boat will be based on WMI’s standard U.S. Navy MK 3 RIB with a lightweight Steyr diesel engine and sterndrive propulsion.
According to WMI, the new, framed construction technique will eliminate the need for a traditional foam-core and fiberglass sandwich hull, resulting in a substantial reduction in overall boat weight with no sacrifice in strength and durability. The deck frames will not be connected directly to the hull beams, providing improved shock mitigation when operating in rough seas. The boat will also feature Structural Composites’ new Co-Cure resin and coating technology that has superior cracking resistance for demanding naval applications.
Ulrich Gottschling, president and CEO of WMI, said, “Willard Marine has built the most durable military RIBs for the U.S. Navy for more than 20 years, and we are committed to leading improvements through more innovative products, designs and production techniques. By partnering with Structural Composites on this advanced construction method, Willard Marine will potentially improve payload capacities while improving crew comfort, which are critical factors for our customers.”
Scott Lewit, president of Structural Composites, said, “This contract modification from the U.S. Navy allows us to integrate our newest composite advances into the recently selected lightweight engine technology from Steyr. The combined benefits of reduced structural and engine weight offer great synergistic benefits.”