|HMAS Stradbroke Island.
Stealthy Optionally Crewed
Catamaran for Australian Navy
Diagram by Tom Worthington,
CC-BY 21 February 2024
1. Tumblehome hull: The hull would slope inward above the waterline, and the superstructure would be free of railings, masts, cranes, and other items, to reduce the radar cross-section. All equipment needed on deck would be covered.
2. Vertical Launch Cells: Rows of vertical launch cells would extend down into each of the catamaran hulls.
3. Drone Hangar: A covered hangar forward of the flight deck would accommodate UAVs. Automated systems would launch, recover and service the drones.
4. XLUUV Bay: A travelling gantry with cradle between the hulls would pick up Extra-Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicles (XLUUV), while the ship is underway. The bay would be equipped with ECLIPS robots for automated rearming & refueling, before dropping the XLUUVs back in the water.
5. USV Bay: A bay at the back of the vessel, would allow Uncrewed Surface Vessels (USV) to be launched and recovered. Automated systems would service the USVs.
6. Self Defense Auto-cannons: The four corners of the ship would each have a small caliber auto-cannon similar to the EOS Slinger, for self defence from missiles, drones, and small boats. Each cannon would be equipped with an electro-optical sight, radar, backup power supply, and operator station. This would allow the ship to be defended even if all other power and systems failed.
While the media has made much of the "optionally crewed" feature of the vessels, of more significance is that the ships are highly automated and so only need a small crew, about one quarter of a conventional military vessel, when they are aboard.
ps: John Birmingham's book "Weapons of Choice" featured highly automated ship warfare. At my suggestion, a sequel featured an Incat built warship named "HMAS Stradbroke Island", so fiction may one day become reality. ;-)