Sea Slice Comes to Europe


Sea Slice was an experimental ship used by the US Navy since 1996. With an evolved Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) design, the ship has four submerged hull ‘pods’ designed to provide stability in higher sea states. The four pod design was said to reduce drag and power used for a given speed.

Sea Slice could travel at up to 30 knots whilst maintaining a very stable platform up to Sea State 5.  One of the experiments involved using it as a firing platform for a 35mm Millenium gun. They were also used in the Broad-area Unmanned Responsive Resupply Operations (BURRO) programme that investigated using unmanned helicopters like the Kaman K-MAX to provide logistic support for embarked forces.

SWATH designs have found a niche in applications that require very high stability in high sea states, pilot and crew transfer boats in the offshore wind industry for example.

Primarily used as an experimental platform for developing Littoral Combat Ship concepts she was placed on the market a few months ago.

The new owner is Advanced Offshore Solutions ApS and the vessel will be used in north European waters in support of the offshore energy industry.

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4 Responses

  1. DK Brown was interested in SWATH for North Atlantic ASW work, mostly because it could continue rotary ops in bouncy sea states that a T23 couldn’t.

    Not sure it would work so well as a global combat ship. Where do you put all the “stuff” that goes in a conventional warship hull? Fuel bunkers, magazines, stores etc. Carry all that above the waterline and you would need a much bigger ship just to remain stable. And what about damaged stability etc? [cue: @NAB]

  2. CTruk semi-swath is more interesting. Taiwan have an interesting multi-hull corvette 500t 35kts+.

  3. All the swath vessels of this size are great until you get an engine problem. Even a minor oil leak. Because the engines are in the pods under water, access is severely restricted! Lifting the vessel out “opening” the hull to gain access is an expensive business. It pushes their operating costs and down time way up. Problems that the crew can fix on any other vessel will restrict reliability and speed on this vessel especially as the engine hours mount.

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