Alaska's King

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Navy to Test Shape Shifting Catamaran in Alaska

The U.S. Navy hopes to test a shape-shifting new catamaran, capable of zipping through stormy seas and landing on hostile beaches by putting it to work ferrying commuters from the Mat-Su Borough to Anchorage, Alaska. "It's a ferry version of the Transformers (toys) that you grew up with," said Rear Admiral Jay Cohen, who manages the Navy and Marines' science and technology program and requested this week's Anchorage meetings.


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To meet the Navy's needs, the vessel has to be able to dock almost anywhere. It has to be able handle high winds, high tides and thick ice, which Cohen says is the reason it's being tested in Alaska. The design -- initially created by Lockheed Martin -- includes hardened hulls for busting through ice.

"As far as we know, it's the only twin-hulled ice-breaker in the world," said Lew Madden, who graduated from then-Anchorage High School in 1962 and now works for Lockheed Martin as Alaska Ship Systems program manager.

Madden is one of the inventors of the ship's patented concept, which operates in three distinct modes, Madden said. For speed, it rides high above the water like a catamaran. In rough water, the hulls drop down, and it glides along as if resting on a pair of submarines. For shallow-water landings, the center section drops down, with its ramp to the beach like a barge.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous TFarker said...

The guy in the back looks like he's saying "Uh, I want to play with it!"

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now now, you boys share.

1:00 AM  

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