Triton trimaran demonstrator set for July trials
RICHARD SCOTT JDW Naval Editor
The forerunner of what could be a new generation of trimaran warships, the demonstrator vessel RV Triton, was launched on 6 May from the Southampton yard of UK shipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft (VT). Triton will initially be used to assess the structural and seakeeping performance of the trimaran design in order to determine whether such a hullform would be suitable for the Future Surface Combatant (FSC) due to enter service with the UK Royal Navy from 2013. It will later become available for use as a general-purpose trials asset.
Built for the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) under a Ј13 million ($19.9 million) contract awarded in July 1997, Triton is the world's largest ocean-going trimaran. At 90m waterline length, it is approximately two-thirds the envisaged length of the FSC, therefore allowing an accurate scaled comparison of in-water performance. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been studying the potential benefits in using the trimaran hullform for warships since the early 1990s. Research led by DERA, coupled to complementary studies undertaken elsewhere in the MoD, industry and academia, have highlighted several theoretical advantages for trimaran hulled warships compared to conventional monohulls.
According to DERA and VT, the slender central hullform with outriggers offers 20% reduced resistance through the water at high speeds compared to an equivalent monohull. As it is the top speed power that determines the size of the machinery fit, the reduction in powering requirements should be reflected in machinery cost savings through life. Other likely advantages include greater stability, which allows for above-water sensors to be mounted atop higher mastheads; improved seakeeping performance, meaning higher speeds can be maintained in heavy seas; a 40% increase in upper deck area, providing more space for aviation facilities and weapon systems; and a wider helicopter operating envelope by siting the flight deck in the amidships region where motions are reduced.
VT expects to start sea trials of Triton in July with handover set for the end of August. DERA's Phase 1 sea trials programme, running from October this year to March 2002, is intended to confirm general naval architectural performance, naval handling and operations, and the recording of structural loading data and seakeeping behaviour. Under a joint memorandum of understanding signed in 1997, the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) is jointly funding Triton's Phase 1 trials activities. NAVSEA is also supplying an advanced 500-channel Trials Instrumentation System to record structural, motion and other ship's data.
©Jane's Information Group 2000
Posted: 16 May 2000
Source: Jane's Defence Weekly
Also Online: Jane's Defence Weekly