Supercavitation. Supercavi-what? That's an intimidating term and it should be. Supercavitation is what helped create this new stealth boat; its design reduces friction a factor of 900.
Discovery News has background on this phenomenon, which allows the boat to reach speeds of 60 miles per hour with less radar visibility:
A new kind of boat is designed to move quickly and stealthily through water by generating a layer of gas around its underwater surfaces.
. . .
Supercavitation occurs when a projectile moving through water generates a low-pressure zone around its surface. Go fast enough and the low-pressure zone becomes a layer of gas. In that respect the [vessel] is similar to a Russian-made torpedo (called the "Shkval," or squall), though the underwater portion of the boat's twin hulls are a new design.
The Ghost, as the ship model is called, was created by Juliet Marine. President and CEO of the company Gregory Sancoff, said Ghost far exceeds previous stealth underwater craft designs. "The Sea Shadow was an 11-knot craft," he said. "This is much faster."
With interest in these vessels from the government, Juliet Marine is working with a defense contractor to build a 150-foot model. Discovery News reports that Ghost would most likely be used for close-to-coast missions, dealing with pirates or "swarm" attacks on aircraft carriers:
"Right now we have thousands of sailors whose only defense against high-speed craft is a .50 caliber machine gun from World War II," Sancoff said.
Eric Wertheim, analyst at the U.S. Naval Institute, says the big issue for a boat like the Ghost will be identifying its niche within the military.
"This is a tough budget time to be introducing any technology that isn't being specifically called for by the navy," he said. "For the last 100 years the stealth boat has been the submarine," he said. Submarines can do special ops missions too, as demonstrated by the fact that smugglers have recently made good use of them. "You have to answer the question of what is the need not being met," he said.
Discovery also noted Sancoff saying the vessel could have commercial applications. In making it larger, Ghost could hep move goods faster and save fuel.
[H/T Fox News]