Nanocomposite hull boosts speed, range of anti-piracy vessel

Zyvex Marine (Bothell, WA) a division of molecular nanotechnology company Zyvex Technologies (Columbus, OH), has launched a marine security vessel based on a carbon fiber nanocomposite hull that will be deployed off the African coast for duties including piracy protection.

The LRV-17 advanced Long Range Vessel is designed for fuel efficiency and rough sea stabilization with a sprint speed over 40 knots and a range of over 1500 nautical miles, more than three times the range of comparatively sized vessels. Global Maritime Security Solutions (GMSS), a leading maritime security company based in Dubai, will deploy the vessels for maritime security, including piracy protection, off the coast of Africa and surrounding areas.


Lightweight hull incorporates carbon nanotubes.


Carbon nanotube-enhanced door is two-thirds lighter.

The LRV-17 is built from Arovex, a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic enhanced with carbon nanotubes that reduces structural weight, allowing for more efficient fuel usage and increased range. This is the first time nanocomposites have been used as the primary material for a manned vessel.

The LRV-17 is modeled after the Piranha Unmanned Surface Vessel, which debuted in 2010. The Piranha established Zyvex as a pioneer of nano-composite marine manufacturing. The 54-ft Piranha weighs 8000 lb yet would have weighed 40,000 lb with traditional materials The vessel now joins several technology applications using Arovex, including doors, hatches and closures developed jointly with Pacific Coast Marine (Everitt, WA). The partners recently unveiled a door that weighs 66% less than a traditional door (weight reduced from 150 lb to just 50 lb) and is more durable.

"As the first molecular nanotechnology engineering company in the marine industry, we are proud to launch a manned vessel platform after successfully proving the unmanned platform and then introducing the industry's lightest and most durable doors, hatches, and other marine closures. These applications of nanocomposites are advancing commercial and defense partners' capabilities when it comes to safety and efficiency," says Byron Nutley, VP of Zyvex Technologies and general manager of Zyvex Marine.

The 17m vessel's deep-V hull is designed for fuel efficiency and uses an active gyroscope stabilizer for improved sea handling and decreased human fatigue factors. It is fully deployable with only two operators and can be equipped with an additional four shock-mitigating seats for support personnel, allowing six crew to remain at sea for over five days. Zyvex Marine performed primary design and engineering, with secondary engineering, installation, and test analysis being performed by partners Pacific Coast Marine, S3 Maritime, Eltech Electric, Seakeeper, and Donald L. Blount and Associates.

GMSS plans to launch a Merchant Vessel Convoy Escort Program by deploying security teams to operate two LRV-17s to protect ships en route. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, there were 439 worldwide piracy attacks in 2011. One report estimated the piracy impact on the global economy to be $7 billion for 2011, the most detailed estimate to date. (1)

"The new LRV-17 boats are game changers in maritime security missions because they are the only vessels capable of long-range escort and high speeds to deal with multiple pirate threats. They need only small security teams to effectively operate," says Rhynhardt Berrange, Managing Director of GMSS. "These attributes create a cost-effective platform to ensure maritime security. The visible presence of the new vessels is expected to deter and help prevent piracy attempts and attacks." —[email protected]

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