Surface Forces: February 19, 2003


Even before Sweden put the first of it's Visby class "stealth" corvettes into service in 2000, the U.S. Navy was interested. The USN was already studying the concept of smaller, "street fighter" ships for operating close to hostile coasts. The Visby seemed to fit the bill. With a hull made of carbon fiber material, and topside surfaces shaped to deflect radar, the Visby was hard to spot electronically. Armed with a 57mm gun, plus surface to surface and anti-aircraft missiles as well as torpedoes, the 600 ton Visby could take on a wide range of opponents. The crew was small (43), but the ship could move fast (about 70 kilometers an hour) in all kinds of weather. The Visby had radar, sonar and thermal imaging equipment. The ship was 240 feet long, 34 feet wide and had a draught of only eight feet. Designers of the U.S. Navy's new "Littoral Combat Ship" are being urged to take a close look at the Visby, because that's the ship to beat. 


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