Structural Composites and the Navy to begin testing advanced combatant craft

The craft features SC's newly developed CoCure strain tunable resin and coating technology.

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Structural Composites (SC, Melbourne, FL, US) said that the first 7M fleet ready (7MFR) advanced combatant craft is now fit for evaluations. The 7MFR, built by Willard Marine (Anaheim, CA, US), provides the durability and maintainability of solid laminate construction at a weight equal to sandwich construction.

SC and the U.S. Navy will test and qualify the fleet ready version of the advanced combatant craft. Moving from prototypes to fleet ready craft will allow the Navy to evaluate SC’s SBIR technology in operational conditions. This also advances the company’s Technology Readiness Level to TRL-8.

SC selected Willard Marine to build this unique craft based on its track record of building similar boats for the Navy. The framed single skin craft features a suspended cockpit design that decouples the hull and a deck structure to reduce the effect of wave impact on the warfighter. The 7MFR is also the first craft that is “strain tuned” using SC’s newly developed CoCure strain tunable resin and coating technology. The hull and deck coatings on the 7MFR have been strain tuned to optimize durability and allow energy absorption without gel coat cracking.

Scott Lewit, president of Structural Composites and inventor of the CoCure technology, states that the CoCure strain tuning technology was derived from its Navy SBIR efforts in advanced combatant craft. “What is really interesting is Florida state grants and commercial investment in the CoCure technology has allowed the Navy to be the early adopter of this new technology,” he said. “This government commercial technology sharing approach is very leveraging, and we are seeing benefits accumulate for the DOD and the commercial market.” 

Recreational boat builders such as HydraSports Custom are using the company’s SBIR technology under its mil-tough rated program that focuses on commercial deployment, Lewit said. SC claims that this was the enabling technology to allow for the successful deployment and performance capabilities of the lightweight HydraSports Custom 53 Sueños, the world’s largest outboard powered center console fishing boat and the winner of the 2015 NMMA Miami Boat Show Innovation Award in the center console category.