Watch: An American ‘Ghost’ Boat That Can Perform Special Ops & Gather Intelligence

An American marine technology firm has developed what it calls a ‘Ghost’ stealth boat, which can glide on the water and perform force protection and ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) roles.

According to Juliet Marine Systems (JMS), the ‘Ghost’ boat has been built especially for the US Navy to help it carry out a variety of missions including special operations, force protection, and ISR.

The New Hampshire-based JMS says the company is dedicated to developing innovative marine technologies for military and commercial use.

The Concept Of ‘Ghost’ Boat

On October 12, 2000, USS Cole, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, was bombed by a terrorist group while it was refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden. The blast created a 40-foot-wide hole near the waterline of the USS Cole, resulting in the deaths of 17 sailors.

According to Gregory Sancoff, CEO of Juliet Marine Systems, the incident motivated him to build something new to protect US Navy warships and personnel in both deep and shallow water in the future.

Sancoff collected the required funds, hired engineers and naval experts to help build the boat. He invested nearly $20 million in the project. The boat was built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in New Hampshire.

The boat’s hull is around 62-feet long; it has an angled, faceted design, making it much more similar to stealth aircraft than waterborne vessels.

The ‘Ghost’, when empty, weighs around 6.4 tons and has a range of around 563-805 kilometers.

Why It Is Called ‘Ghost’ Boat

The reason behind the boat being named ‘The Ghost’ is due to its stealth capabilities. The developers designed the boat in a clever manner so that its radar signature remained minimal thereby ensuring that it does not get detected by large ships.

The use of advanced technologies and the presence of fewer windows reduce its radar signature, making it highly stealthy.

The boat has a very unique design, with its cockpit located above the water surface, which helps it to sail on sea comfortably despite the presence of destabilizing waves.

It can operate in waves of up to 8-ft high, can cut through waves, and reduce the slamming effect for a smoother sail.

An aerial bow view of the experimental stealth ship SEA SHADOW conducting trails on the outer edges of the bay - U.S. National Archives Public Domain Image
A stealth ship

When the boat travels at a speed less than 8 knots, it sits in the water up to its centerline, with its two 3.7 m (12 foot) struts submerged which are parallel to the surface of the sea.

However, when it travels faster than 8 knots, the boat’s hull can be lifted out of the water by bringing the two struts closer together.

“You can sit there and drink your coffee going through six-foot swells,” says Sancoff.

Currently, the Ghost boat can travel as fast as 30 knots, and, efforts are underway for it to achieve the target speed of 50 knots.

The boat uses a super-cavitating propulsion system in which the propellers create a gas bubble through which the fins move. This makes the boat move faster and in a more efficient manner.

Future Roles

The boat can also be used for civilian duties such as high-speed maritime ferry or taxi services, and at offshore oil rigs.

It is claimed that the boat can perform roles like that of attack helicopters. Once it is equipped with appropriate weapons and other technologies, the Ghost could be used by the navy to intercept illegal shipments and incoming small attack vessels.

Despite such capabilities, the US Navy has not shown interest in acquiring the Ghost boat yet. But the company still hopes things could change in the near future.

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