First Of Five Hydrofoil Combatants Launched By Boeing Marine Systems
The p a t r o l h y d r o f o i l missile ship USS Taurus (shown above), first of five PHMs under construction for the U.S. Navy, was launched recently at the Seattle facility of Boeing Marine Systems. The vessel was christened by Mrs. John D.H. Kane Jr., wife of Rear Adm. John D.H. Kane Jr., USN (Ret.), director of Navy history and curator of the Navy Department, who was principal speaker at the event.
Taurus (PHM-3) and four sister ships will join the USS Pegasus (PHM-1) to complete a sixship squadron of hydrofoils to be homeported in Key West, Fla. She has an overall length of 131 feet, a beam of 28 feet, and will displace 230 tons.
In her hullborne mode, Taurus will be powered by two diesel engines through waterjets. When foilborne, she will be powered by a gas turbine engine through a single waterjet, and will be capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.
The high speed of the PHM, extraordinary maneuverability, and small radar cross section give it unique advantages with respect to survivability and attack capability. With a crew of only 21 on a PHM and total six-ship squadron personnel fewer than that of one destroyer, the risk to men and material is at a minimum, while high speed and increased numbers of ships can greatly expand surface patrol effectiveness. Pegasus, in service with the Navy since June 1977, has clearly demonstrated that the PHM can play a cost-effective role in achieving an increased, balanced naval force. As a surface warfare ship, the high fire rates of the PHM's eight Harpoon missiles and 76- mm gun provide it with the same mission kill capability as much larger surface combatants.