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Low-drag hullform could give USV an edge

Warship Technology: May 2020Furturist

A newly-developed unmanned surface vessel intended for a range of military and commercial applications has a centre hull and a pair of sponsons to either side of it and is based on a hullform UK-based BMT has studied over many years.


Offering what the company described as “a myriad of applications for defence and commercial applications,” the innovative vessel can be custom-configured for applications such as patrol, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and other commercial work such as hydrographic survey.


The pentamaran was designed to reduce drag as much as possible. Tests have proven it offers significant improvements compared to conventional hullforms such as monohulls, catamarans and trimarans.


The vessel has a very slender central hull and two smaller hulls or ‘sponsons’ on either side. The sponsons are set one behind the other and when the vessel is operating on flat water, the forward sponsons are not submerged, as they provide roll stability effect in waves only. Compared to a trimaran there is less volume permanently immersed and therefore less resistance through the water.


BMT said data gathered through extensive tank testing is ‘very compelling’ and for applications where fuel economy matters, the Pentamaran hullform is more efficient than conventional hullforms, which means that using the same engines and the same amount of fuel, it will go further than any other, making it an ideal candidate for autonomous applications.