First Nanocomposite Manned Boat Will Fight Pirates
The LRV-17, the first manned boat to be made primarily of nanomaterials, has an extended range of more than 1,500 nautical miles -- more than three times the range of similar-sized vessels. (Source: Zyvexz Marine)
Fascinating article, Ann. I guess it shouldn't be surprising to find composites are working their way into boats. I also find it interesting that that goal is to prevent piracy rather than chasing the bad guys afterwards.
Ann, when you mention the longer range of these boats and the fact that this makes them a game changer in the business of escorting ships against an enemy, I am reminded of the P-51 Mustang. Their longer range made them able to escort larger bombers all the way to their targets. It was a technological improvement that made them able to do the job at the time. In the same way these boats incorporate improvements that let them do a job that was not really possible before. The carbon nanotubes are really interesting. I have seen them used in microelectronics where they are literally grown within the chip. It is very impressive. In that case they are able to tale larger electrical loads than standard conductors. In this case it is strength and light weight that is the attribute.
Lou, I looked up the P-51 Mustang and that aircraft sounds like a good analogy to the boats escorting ships I describe. Regarding CNTs, they are showing up everywhere in composites to reinforce them: the resulting materials are called nanocomposites.
Much ado about extended range, but nothing about munitions or armor. Are they going to drive pirates away by merely looking badass?! Is this for recon, point of spear, or what? If they arrest 12 pirates, hows that get handled? Is it stealthy? Sold to the highest bidder?
Naperlou, these remind me of WWII PT boats, which were made out of plywood, and were fast. (Range and torpedos probably the biggest difference.
Some of these armament/drones etc. replies ignore both political reality, and reality in general. 'Pirates' look like fishermen. (With nicer, bigger outboard motors?) Shoot first, and ask questions later? How macho!
When you find out they are pirates, it may well be because they have sidled up to a boat, or even already have boarded one. Gonna spray that big tanker with a fifty? Kiss the crew goodby? I don't think so.
Do the pirates buy fifties for their boats? Heck, do they buy one of these boats?
Five years after these are deployed, pirates have quit, and these are no longer patroling. At which point the pirates start right up again?
I surely don't know how this will play out, but I thirst for more info about this boat and how it would be used. Sounds like it might pay for a lot of merchant mercenaries, riding right on the target ships. But that's probably a whole new can of worms.
My recommendation for fighting the pirates in that part of the world would be to use well armed drones and simply blast them out of the water. After a few hundred pirate vessels are sunk, possibly there would be some reduction in maritime piracy in that area. It is quite likely that the payback on the investment in drones would come within just a few weeks.
The fact is that it is hard to scare the pilot of a drone, since they are far away.
Even A single .50 BMG would get the point across. They wouldn't have to arrest anyone just defend the escorted ships. One of the main ships could serve as Command and Control and the small vessels would respond with intercepts and machine gun bursts. If you've ever been on the receiving end of .50 caliber fire you know how intimidating it is. Even a single hit on the types of boats the pirates use would be devastating.
This boat might be exactly what the authorities need to fight of the piracy, but what of the costs, nanotechnology is not that cheap. If such boats will be acquired eventually, the best boat lifts should also be considered by the authorities.
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