Navio experimental dos EUA "Sea Flyer"

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Navio experimental dos EUA "Sea Flyer"
« em: Outubro 23, 2004, 01:26:09 pm »
ABOVE THE SEA: The Office of Naval Research's Sea Flyer

The high seas have never seen anything like it. A souped-up SES-200 with a high-tech and powerful propulsion system that reaches speeds up to 30 knots without batting an eye.


The Sea Flyer combines speed, stability, and a ride that won't make you seasick. (Photo courtesy of the Office of Naval Research)


On the rough seas, any small ship would be buffeted to oblivion, not to mention cause its passengers much discomfort and nausea. With advanced hybrid underwater hull technology, the Sea Flyer is no ordinary small ship. The original vessel was a 20-year-old Navy Surface Effects Ship (SES-200), reduced by 65 feet and augmented another 100 feet to allow for dual diesel engines. From 2000 to 2003 the SES-200 was transformed into a platform for the cutting-edge propulsion technology now seen on the ONR's Sea Flyer.

The existing air cushion components on the SES-200 were completely removed to make room for the 170-ton underwater lifting body. An advanced ride control system (ARCS) was integrated into the structure to control pitch and roll, making for an unbelievably smooth ride. As a research vehicle, the Sea Flyer is good indication of what is possible with such a unique and innovative hull form.

Steven Loui is president of Navatek, Ltd., a Hawaii-based company who signed a Cooperative Agreement with the Office of Naval Research to design, reconstruct and test the vehicle. Loui is most proud of the ship's stability, at high speeds, low speeds, and even at rest. "There's been an 80 percent reduction in motion, compared to a ship of similar size," said Loui when touting the ship's features.


The underwater cross foil of ONR's Sea Flyer. (Photo courtesy of Navatek)


At present, the Sea Flyer is manned by Navatek's civilian crew, led by skipper Greg Wong. For full functionality, the ship needs a crew of only two -- a skipper and engineer. The real brain of the ship is the computer system that controls the propulsion system. Wong has access to all this information at his fingertips, as he steers the ship with a joystick mounted on the captain's chair. As he brings the ship to speeds reaching 30 knots, the hull is completely lifted out of the water, and literally "flies" through the waves. All the while, Wong is aware of the water depth, the ship's speed and the position of each of the flaps. The lifting body, aft cross foil, and ARCS provide the stability that makes the Sea Flyer extremely stable at high speeds. There is little to no side to side motion at this speed, low speeds, or even at rest. The ride control system is made of aluminum with composite materials used as side caps.
During demonstrations in San Diego and San Francisco, the Sea Flyer received much praise and acclaim. Veteran Sailors marveled at its stability, even on the rough waves miles away from the San Francisco coast. Navatek believes that this kind of technology will be very useful to the Navy in developing future ships of similar size. The Sea Flyer makes the concept of landing a helicopter on a vessel weighing less than 5,000 tons more feasible, due to its unparalleled stability.

Launched in June 2003, the Sea Flyer underwent Navy sea trials in 2004. The Office of Naval Research sees the Sea Flyer as an opportunity to evaluate the sea-keeping and load-carrying capacity of a hybrid hydrofoil ship that incorporates an underwater lifting body and ride control system. The vessel will also be used to train the future crew of the X-Craft, a high-speed catamaran currently in production. Along with opening up a myriad of possibilities for ships of this size, the Sea Flyer is proof that research in new and unique methods of propulsion is of the utmost importance. Needless to say, if integration of this type of advanced propulsion will result in more vessels with stability like the Sea Flyer's, sailors will be in for a very smooth ride.

SEA FLYER -- SPECIFICATIONS
Crew 2
Length 167.4 feet
Beam 43 feet
Draft 18.5 feet
Displacement 270 LT light; 340 LT full load
Maximum Speed 30+ knots
 

 

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