SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Keel laid for revolutionary dual-use catamaran vessel, M/V Susitna


August 25, 2006

On August 24, 2006, onlookers gathered at the shipyard of Alaska Ship & Drydock Inc. in Ketchikan, Alaska, to witness the keel laying of what will be a very unusual and versatile ship.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), the vessel's sponsor, performed the honors as she welded her name onto the keel of the M/V Susitna, a twin-hulled catamaran ferry that is being funded jointly by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and Alaska's Matunuska Susitna (Mat/Su) Borough. Attendees also included ONR's Chief of Naval Research RAdm. William E. Landay, Mat/Su Borough Mayor Tim Anderson, as well as State of Alaska and Ketchikan officials and the management team for the Susitna program.

jpg Keel laying ceremony

E-Craft Keel Laying Ceremony, Ketchikan, Alaska
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator from Alaska, shows off a piece of steel after welding her name during a keel laying ceremony at Alaska Ship and Drydock, Ketchikan
U.S. Navy photograph by John F. Williams - 8/24/2006

When complete, the Susitna (which is named after a river and mountain in south central Alaska, and means "sleeping lady") will be operated by the Mat/Su Borough as a ferry between Anchorage and Port Mackenzie. ONR also is interested in the vessel's transformational hull form as a technology demonstrator to support the Navy's sea basing and expeditionary warfare concepts.

jpg Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Susitna

E-Craft Keel Laying Ceremony, Ketchikan, Alaska
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator from Alaska, offers remarks during keel laying ceremony in Ketchikan, Alaska, for the Office of Naval Research funded Expeditionary Craft (E-Craft) also named Motor Vehicle (MV) Susitna.
Pictured from left, Randy Johnson, President, Alaska Ship and Drydock, Rear Admiral William E. Landay, Chief of Naval Research, and Tim Anderson, Mayor, Matanuska-Susitna Borough look on.
U.S. Navy photograph by John F. Williams - 8/24/2006

The ship will have a center "barge" that can be hydraulically raised and lowered; it also will have the option to adjust the buoyancy of its catamaran hulls while under way. The vessel will demonstrate the functionality of a ship that can provide a multipurpose, expeditionary cargo and troop ship that performs efficiently at high speed, in ice, and in shallow waters, and that can even beach itself to load/discharge vehicles up to tank size.

The vessel will have three distinct modes of operation: a catamaran mode for high speeds; a small-water-area-twin-hull (SWATH) mode for stability in high sea states; and a shallow-draft landing-craft mode that provides substantial buoyancy for maneuvering in shallow water. In addition, the Susitna will be the world's first ice-breaking twin-hulled vessel.

Vessel Characteristics:

Length -195 Feet, Beam ­ 60 feet
Displacement: 940 tons full load
Variable Draft - SWATH mode is 12± feet, shallow-draft landing-craft mode is 4± feet.
Capacity: 100 Passengers and 20 vehicles.
Speed: 20 knots
Power Plant: 4 ea., MTU 12V 4000 diesel engines

The Susitna project is a collaboration between the Office of Naval Research, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, and Alaska Ship & Drydock. The project is funded through the Office of Naval Research's Sea Warfare and Weapons Department.


Related story:

Governor Praises Shipyard For Achievements; Cutting edge of technology starting in Ketchikan By Dick Kauffman - Referring to the new $28 million high-tech vessel the Alaska Ship and Drydock has been chosen to build for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Governor Frank H. Murkowski said, "It's pretty exciting. The cutting edge of technology is starting out right here in Ketchikan."

Speaking to employees at the Alaska Ship and Drydock recently during a visit to Ketchikan, Governor Murkowski said constructing this unique loading and unloading vessel could really establish - particularly with the military - an opportunity. "The fact that you folks are given the challenge of putting this together is certainly a testimony to your capabilities and expertise," said Murkowski. - More...
July 23, 2006


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