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Sea Shadow IX-529

A Dutchmen awaiting orders in a Franco-German harbor

The Dutchmen IX-530 is the surface-transiting stealth-capable military ship deployed by both the United States of America and the Franco-German Commonwealth. It was developed from the Sea Shadow, a prototype donated in 2010 by the US Navy, in exchange for the continued development of the craft and the exploration of its military potential.

Sea Shadow

Sea Shadow was built in 1985 and used in secret but normal service until her public debut in 1993, to examine the application of stealth technology on naval vessels. In addition, the ship was designed to test the use of automation to enable the reduction of crew size. The ship was created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Navy and Lockheed. Sea Shadow was developed at Lockheed's Redwood City, California facility, inside the Hughes Mining Barge, which functioned as a floating drydock during construction and testing.[1] She is sometimes referred to as "USS Sea Shadow"; however, this designation is inappropriate as she was never a fully commissioned ship of the U.S. Navy.

Sea Shadow has a SWATH hull design. Below the water are submerged twin hulls, each with a propeller, aft stabilizer, and inboard hydrofoil. The portion of the ship above water is connected to the hulls via the two angled struts. The SWATH design helps the ship remain stable even in very rough water of up to sea state 6 (wave height of 18 feet (5.5 m) or "very rough" sea). The shape of the superstructure has sometimes been compared to the casemate of the ironclad ram CSS Virginia of the American Civil War.[1]

The T-AGOS 19-and-23-class oceanographic ships have inherited the stabilizer and canard method to help perform their stability-sensitive surveillance missions.[1]

Sea Shadow has only 12 bunks aboard, one small microwave oven, a refrigerator and table. It was never intended to be mission capable and was never commissioned, although she is listed in the Naval Vessel Register.

Sea Shadow was revealed to the public in 1993, and was housed at the San Diego Naval Station until September 2006, when it was relocated with the HMB-1 to the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, CA. The vessels are available for donation to a maritime museum.[1]

Sea Shadow was also the inspiration for the stealth ship in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies (in reality a modified SeaCat catamaran channel ferry).

Development

In late 2010, along with the Franco-German attainment of several scrapped US military programs, the US threw in the unused Sea Shadow, seeing no potential in the vehicle. Franco-German officials quickly saw its potential when OIS began military preparations for another war. The Dutchmen has proven very adaptable and useful, as shown in its first deployment in Burma, entering key waterways as the first wave of the invasion.

Capabilities

The ship has the role of providing a seaworthy shock-and-awe capability, along with quick response capability.

It can serve as a weapons platform, having attachment points for machine guns and rocket launchers. As well, it can serve as a command center for operations, as well as the control center for UAVs. It is a very versatile platform.

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