By Brett Gillin
It’s been said many times over: When you’re looking for ideas and innovation, looking to the private sector is usually your best bet. That could very well be the case when it comes to what might be on the horizon for the United States Navy, at least if Juliet Marine Systems has anything to say about it. The company is pitching a super-fast, stealthy attack boat designed to protect larger ships against attacks.
George Sancoff, the CEO of Juliet Marine Systems, has unveiled what he is calling the “Ghost.” As CNN points out in this article, Ghost looks an awful lot like an F-117 jet, only elevated above the water on a set of skis.
Juliet Marine Systems bill themselves as a maritime technology think tank. On their website, they claim that the Ghost is a “combination of stealth fighter aircraft and attack helicopter technologies packaged in a marine platform.” They claim that the boat, which is around 60 feet long, is capable of achieving speeds of 50 knots (57 miles per hour) and can be operated without a crew if necessary. It also has the capability of carrying up to 18 Special Forces troops.
After proposing his ship to the Pentagon, who have, according to reports, “unofficially expressed interest,” Sancoff has not heard additional word as to their plans. At around $10 million per boat, the ship is certainly affordable, and if it can help prevent disasters like happened on the USS Cole, it seems like a no-brainer. But Sancoff believes that because Juliet Marine Systems is a smaller company, the Ghost might not be getting the attention that it deserves.
“Our country right now is not that aggressive when it comes to working with small, innovative, high-tech companies,” Sancoff told CNN. “I love to pose the question: Where are the Googles, the Microsofts, the Apples, in the defense industry? A lot of times the reason why small companies don’t venture into it is because the barriers of entry are so difficult.”
Although the Pentagon refuses to comment on specifics regarding their plans (or lack therof) to purchase high-tech ships such as Ghost, they did comment to CNN that “it’s not procedure to procure a system without established requirements.” Meaning, without hearing, in official form, that a ship like the Ghost is necessary for the U.S. Navy, it’s unlikely to get the attention that Sancoff feels it deserves. With the attention that it is getting in the media of late, perhaps getting to the decision makers at the Pentagon will be a bit easier for Sancoff, and the Navy could see Ghosts protecting our ships before too long.