FSF-1 Sea Fighter: From X-Craft to Serving Ship?
The 262 foot long, 950 ton displacement FSF-1 Sea Fighter experimental ship was once called the X-Craft. It’s a high speed, shallow draft catamaran that was built to demonstrate and validate many of the Navy’s operational concepts for littoral warfare, and many of its experiments fed into the Littoral Combat Ship program. Sea Fighter can launch and recover surface and sub-surface vehicles up to the size of an 11 meter Rigid-Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB)from its rear ramp, can carry specialized equipment in its mission module bay, and can support up to 2 MH-60 helicopters on its deck.
The ship currently has 4 stations for .50 caliber machine guns, some of which could be converted to Mk38 remotely-operated 25mm cannon. Missiles other than crew-operated Stingers would likely create a deck hazard, but more advanced weaponry such as the SBOC chaff dispensers, Phalanx 20mm CIWS, or the 35mm Millennium Gun tested on the similar Sea Slice vessel in 2002 would be possible with additional work. The vessel is already paid for, and has been available for service since 2005. An armed Sea Fighter could function in a variety of limited roles, depending on the equipment set provided. Possibilities include a coastal or shallow water patrol vessel, special forces or riverine support vessel, short-range “connector” supply vessel, or even specialized functions like minesweeping or submarine detection.
May 2/08: International Systems LLC, DBA L-3 Communications Advanced Systems Division in San Diego, CA received a $20 million cost plus fixed fee contract to modify the FSF-1 Sea Fighter experimental ship. They will design, integrate, and implement modifications that will improve ship survivability, and also improve various hull, mechanical and electrical capabilities. This award stems from one of Rep. Duncan Hunter’s [R-CA-52, ranking Republican on House Armed Services Committee] FY 2008 earmark initiatives, which passed through the appropriations committee process.
Work will be performed in San Diego, CA and is expected to be complete in April 2009. This contract was competitively procured under Office of Naval Research Broad Agency Announcement 08-001, and the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, VA issued the contract (N00014-08-C-0625).