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Ars climbs aboard the Stiletto, DOD’s stealthy, high-speed lab at sea

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Gary Tokarski
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Forty feet wide and 80 feet long, the Stiletto is nearly three times the size of a World War II PT boat yet less than a third of the weight.

With a carbon fiber hull, the Stiletto is light enough 45 tons, unloaded to be craned onto a cargo ship for transport—but it can also carry 20 tons of cargo and tear through most sea states at high speeds.

Now operating from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek near Norfolk, Virginia, the Stiletto was originally intended to be part of a new Navy combat concept—groups of small, highly networked boats carrying sensors and weapons and working as a group to take on enemies in coastal, river, and shallow ocean waters.

Built with special operations in mind, the Stiletto has a stealthy profile and a unique pentamaran hull that essentially acts as a surface effect hull at high speeds, allowing the craft to rise out of the water and reach speeds of 60 knots 69 miles an hour, or 110 kilometers per hour .

But it is funded directly by the Department of Defense's Office of Research, Test, Development and Evaluation RDT .

Earlier this year, Stiletto served as the "sea" leg of a Marine Corps Warfighting Lab test of using teamed ground robots and aerial drones to find and direct fire against targets ashore.

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Gary Tokarski
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