Allison Gas Turbines Will Power World's Fastest Patrol Boat

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The H-3 Research & Development Group, Ltd. of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., has announced the design of its new super fast patrol boat developed by Edward H. Heinemann, world-famous and innovative designer of airplanes and fast patrol craft. The H-3 (shown above) is a water jet, three-engine vessel powered by Detroit Diesel Allison gas turbine engines driving water jets supplied by KaMeWa AB of Sweden, through Cincinnati Gear Company's epicyclic reduction gears.

The patrol boat has an overall length of 47 meters, beam of 7.5 meters, and draft of 1.9 meters (154.2/24.6/6.23 feet). The full-load displacement is 239 metric tons. The design is based upon an analysis of the problems that nations of the world have defending their shorelines, especially in rivers, estuaries, and shallow waters. A study was made of various hull materials including wood, steel, plastic, and aluminum, and this study clearly showed aluminum to be the best material. The hull will be constructed of marine aluminum alloy supplied by the Alcoa Company. Provisions are made for various armament configurations, depending upon the user requirements and the release of American armament to the user. The recommended armament is a 75-mm Oto Melara bow gun, four McDonnell Douglas Harpoon type missiles carried at midship, and a General Dynamics Phalanx array mounted on the upper deck. With this armament, or the equivalent, the H-3 is believed to be the world's most effective boat of its type.

The gas turbine engines and jet thrusters make the H-3 especially effective as a patrol craft, as it has a top speed exceeding 50 knots, depending upon the amount of fuel remaining. It has exceptionally good turning and maneuvering performance, with the distinct advantage of being able to operate in shallow waters due to the absence of propellers. It is modern in every respect, but uses only concepts and equipment that have been well-proven in service.

Naval architecture and marine engineering has been handled by Nickum & Spaulding Associates, Inc. of Seattle. The building of the first hulls will be undertaken by The China Shipbuilding Trading Company Ltd. of Beijing, People's Republic of China. Negotiations for a parallel construction program in the U.S. are under way.

In February 1983, Mr. Heinemann and Whitney Todd of Intercontinental Financing Group, Ltd. were invited to visit China as guests of the People's Republic. In late 1983 an official delegation from China visited Rancho Santa Fe for further discussions. Subsequently, the H-3 Consortium made several visits to China during 1984, and in November that year an Agreement of Understanding was signed at the Official Guest House in Beijing by members of the Consortium and CSTC.

The H-3 Consortium members are: H-3 Research & Development Group, Ltd. (design); General Motors Oversea Distribution Corporation (Allison turbines); Cincinnati Gear Company (gears); KaMeWa AB, Sweden (thrusters); Aluminum Company of America (aluminum alloy); Intercontinental Financial Group, Ltd. (project financing); and Whitney Todd & Company (sales/ financing).

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