30 June 2011

A Sea Shadow of its former self! 007-style stealth ship that cost $195m to build is heading for the junk yard

It was the inspiration behind the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, but Die Another Day might be more appropriate - and that day is coming soon.

After two decades of experimentation, the Navy has decided to get rid of the Sea Shadow, the 007-style, stealth ship. The plan was to salvage the ship by getting someone to buy it and put it on display. But after spending 5 years since 2006 and millions of dollars searching, the Navy has given up hope of finding any museum to take it. Navy spokesman Chris Johnson said the ship's fate is all but sealed.

The Sea Shadow, made in secrecy, stored in secrecy and constructed for secrecy, once cost the United States Navy $195 million to build and operate. Now it appears to be destined for the junk heap.

Completed in 1985 by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and Lockheed Martin, it was the Navy’s first experimental stealth ship. At 160ft long and 70ft wide, the Sea Shadow has a maximum speed of 14 knots and has the ability to operate in Sea State 5 conditions, or winds from 17 to 21 knots. But it was never intended for missions, just for testing. The craft was built to examine application of stealth technology on naval missiles.

The Sea Shadow now berths inside the rusting hulk of the Hughes Mining Barge, a fully submersible dry dock at the Navy's Mole Pier in San Diego, California. The dry dock keeps the ship safely hidden from spy satellites and from public view.

At just 26 years old, the ship could be saved by a last-minute taker. But in reality, a ship-dismantling company is likely to come along and sell the metal on the open market.

Source: Daily Mail. 19 June 2011

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