Please report any broken links or trouble you might come across to the Webmaster. Please take a moment to let us know so that we can correct any problems and make your visit as enjoyable and as informative as possible.

NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive

M80 Stiletto

Prototype Littoral Vessel:
  • Laid down, date unknown, by the M Ship Company
  • Launched, 31 January 2006
  • Stiletto is a prototype experimental vessel being tested by the Navy littoral combat warfare and interoperable environments.
    The M80 Stiletto is a U.S. Navy vessel designed for combat in littoral waters. It takes the name from the Italian Stiletto, a short knife or dagger.
    The 88-foot (27 m) long vessel has a notable hull design, an M-shaped hull that provides a stable yet fast platform for mounting electronic surveillance equipment or weapons, or for conducting special operations. The hull design does not require foils or lifting devices to achieve a smooth ride at high speeds in rough conditions. Its shallow draft means the M80 Stiletto can operate in littoral and riverine environments and potentially allows for beach landings. The faceted design suggests that the vessel has a low radar signature (i.e., stealth) in the frontal aspect and somewhat so from the sides.

    The M80 Stiletto is equipped with four Caterpiller Inc. C32 1232 kW (1652 HP) engines yielding a top speed in excess of 50 knots (90 km/h) and a range of 500 nautical miles (900 km) when fully loaded. It can be outfitted with jet drives for shallow water operations and beaching.

    It has a topside flight deck for launching and retrieving UAVs and a rear ramp that can launch and recover an 11-meter rigid-hull inflatable boat (RIB) or Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).

    It weighs 45 tons unloaded, light enough that it can be hoisted onto a cargo ship, while still able to carry up to 20 tons of cargo. The ship is 88.6 feet (27.0 m) in length, with a width of 40 feet (12 m) and a height of 18.5 feet (5.6 m), yet has a draft of only 2.5 feet (0.8 m).

    The M80 Stiletto is the largest U.S. naval vessel built using carbon-fiber composite and epoxy building techniques, which yields a very light but strong hull. The prototype M80 Stiletto is expected to be in use in less than one year. Ships are expected to cost between $6 and $10 million.

    Historically, ships have evolved to become narrower and deeper to achieve speed and stability. The M Hull however become wider, because its distinctively wide hull captures the vesselís bow wave and redirects the energy under the hull. The Stilettoís double-M hull enables the craft to achieve an unequaled ride in rough seas at high speed, which is critical for the Navy SEALS and other Special Operations Forces, because it reduces the G-forces and related injuries these personnel are subjected to during training and on missions.

    The Stiletto is being tested by the United States Navy SEALs and Special Warfare Combat Crewmen, who operate small, fast craft in the rough littoral seas for which the vessel was designed.

    Operational History
    In 2006 and 2007, the Stiletto participated in Trident Warrior exercises, as well as a number of other naval exercises. This included three days of mine-clearing experimentation during Exercise Howler in 2006, when the vessel was operated by the Naval Special Clearance Team-1 (NSCT-1) from the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado.

    A key feature of this vessel is that it can set up a network between a special forces team by launching an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that relays information between the team and boat. The Stiletto can also carry surveillance UAVs to provide reconnaissance for the SEAL team, and, using a clustered supercomputer on board, will be able to send real-time images to the team on shore.

    The Stiletto was selected by Time magazine as one of the Best Inventions of 2006 and one of two inventions in the Armed Forces category. San Diego-based CONNECT named the M80 Stiletto as the Most Innovative New Product for 2006 in the General Technology category. In 2008, the Stiletto deployed on a 70 day mission for USSOUTHCOM as part of a joint agency operation that included the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Coast Guard.

    In July 2012, the US Navy deployed a Stiletto to retrieve the NASA Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment 3 (IRVE-3) test article[with 3 m (9.8 ft) diameter heat shield which splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean off North Carolina after being launched on July 23 by a sounding rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The Stiletto is referred to as a maritime demonstration craft operated by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock, Combatant Craft Division, and based at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Ft Story, Va.
    Wikipedia M90 Stiletto

    Displacement 60 t. (fl)
    Length 88' 6"
    Beam 50"
    Height 15'
    Draft 2' 6"
    Complement 3
    Troops 12 SEALS
    Cargo 20 t.
    Speed 51 Kts
    Endurance 500nm at full load/max speed
    Boat 1 Rigid hull inflatable boat
    Propulsion 1,650hp Caterpillar C-30 engines

    Click On Image
    For Full Size Image
    Size Image Description Source
    Stiletto 260k Stiletto being trucked out of the assembly building at M Ship Co., LLC, San Diego, CA. in January 2006.
    US Navy photo courtesy M Ship Co., LLC,
    Robert Hurst
    Stiletto 79k Stiletto underway, date and location unknown. Robert Hurst
    Stiletto 242k Navy SEALS approach Stiletto in a Rigid hull inflatable boat, date and location unknown.
    US Navy photo.
    Robert Hurst
    Stiletto 26k Stiletto underway in the Chesapeake Bay, date and location unknown.
    Photos by Kitsune.
    Robert Hurst
    Stiletto 35k
    Stiletto 24k
    Stiletto 65k Stiletto underway date and location unknown.  
    Stiletto 72k Stiletto launching a drone, date and location unknown.  
    Stiletto 84k Stiletto moored pierside, date and location unknown.  
    Stiletto 74k
    Stiletto 61k
    Stiletto 48k

    M80 Stiletto alongside and being lifted aboard USNS Shughart (T-AKR-295), for transportation from San Diego, CA., to Norfolk, VA., date unknown. US Navy photos.
    M-80 Stiletto M-80 Stiletto M-80 Stiletto M-80 Stiletto M-80 Stiletto

    There is no DANFS history currently available for M80 Stiletto at NavSource
    Crew Contact And Reunion Information
    U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation - Navy Log

    Back To The Main Photo Index Back To The Service Force Ship Type Index Back To The High Speed Vessel (HSV) Photo Index
    Comments, Suggestions, E-mail Webmaster.
    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
    All pages copyright NavSource Naval History
    Last Updated 23 May 2014