Structural Composites wins follow-on work

The U.S. Navy will fund a continuation of the firm's Phase II SBIR for Advanced RIB watercraft with decoupled hull and deck structure.

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Structural Composites (Melbourne, Fla., USA) has been awarded a one-year duration contract modification to their Phase II SBIR contract for Advanced Craft.  This $400,000 modification transitions the effort from research to supporting potential U.S. Navy fleet insertion.

Willard Marine, Inc. (Anaheim, Calif., USA) has been competitively selected as the team member for this effort. The team will be producing, testing and qualifying a fleet-ready version of the advanced combatant RIB craft, which offer the potential for increased performance and reduced life cycle cost. Additionally the innovative suspended cockpit design decouples the hull and deck structure to reduce the effect of wave impact on the warfighter. Moving from prototypes to fleet ready craft will allow the Navy to evaluate the SBIR technology in operational conditions and advances the Technology Readiness Level to TRL-8.

Structural Composites company president Scott Lewit states “We have such strong support from the Navy, Combatant Craft and the entire supply chain. We are very pleased to be working with Willard Marine on producing this craft. Willard Marine has shown a strong commitment to advancing the state of the art and has been deeply involved working with the Navy on next generation propulsion technology.”  Lewit says that the contract allows integration of composite advances into recently selected lightweight engine technology from Steyr. The combined benefits of reduced structural weight and reduced propulsion weight have great synergistic benefit. Lewit says that the technology has potential benefits for the recreational boating market and the broader transportation market as well.

Willard Marine president, Ulrich Gottschling, says “Willard Marine has been building the most durable military RIBs for the U.S. Navy for more than 20 years, so we are proud and eager to collaborate with Structural Composites on this advanced construction method that will potentially improve payload capacities, which is a critical factor for many of our customers."