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A small ship for near-shore counterterrorism operations was one of 17 projects presented by MIT graduate students at a recent Center for Ocean Engineering symposium attended by industry professionals including Rear Adm. Kevin McCoy of the U.S. Navy.
The world of naval architecture has been enriched by skilled graduates of MIT ever since the Institute started its graduate program in naval construction and engineering in 1901 at the Navy's request.
The 2007 Ship Design and Technology Symposium highlighted the research of current students in the naval construction and engineering program, which is open to active-duty officers in the Navy, Coast Guard and international navies in addition to non-military students.
Many of the MIT students are designing for the Navy's future. Projects included converting a retired amphibious landing ship into a hospital ship, replacing a steam engine in an amphibious transport with a modernized propulsion system, and designing a high-speed vessel for all branches of the U.S. military.
The reality of current conflicts also guides the work of these ship designers.
For example, counterterrorism military operations have an urgent need for vessels that can operate near shore. One potential MIT solution, the Riverine Combat Craft, has a shallow draft and top speed of 35 knots. This contemporary design is ideal for navigating a gnarly coast line and for safe passage in variable river deltas. It is the product of extensive research, modeling and computations.
The complex designs for each of these projects include analyses on structure and seakeeping, or predicting how the ship will perform at various speeds with variable wave conditions, plus time and cost estimates for completion.
MIT faculty including mechanical engineering department head Rohan Abeyaratne and Center for Ocean Engineering Director Michael Triantafyllou also addressed the audience during the daylong event.
For more information about the naval architecture program go to oe.mit.edu/content/view/42/104/.