MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- The Department of Defense's high-speed experimental boat Stiletto will depart from Key West, Fla., June 13 to the Caribbean where it will support U.S. and multinational counter-illicit trafficking (CIT) operations and conduct operational testing.
The 88-foot long, 60-ton Stiletto will deploy to the Caribbean basin through the summer under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO) and U.S. 4th Fleet and tactical control of Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S). Stiletto is manned by a joint U.S. Army and U.S. Navy crew and includes an embarked U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment.
"A unique aspect of the region, with its proximity to the United States, is our ability to support the testing and evaluation of select new and developing programs and concepts," said Rear Adm. Joseph D. Kernan, commander, NAVSO and U.S. 4th Fleet. "Stiletto is a great example of employing innovative technologies while also executing an important mission. It is manned by a joint and interagency crew, and we work with some of our partners in the Caribbean to counter-illicit trafficking."
Stiletto's innovative hull construction and M-shaped design make it lightweight and easy to maintain, allowing Stiletto to reach speeds of up to 50 knots under calm sea conditions and operate in shallow waters. It is also equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, communications and network interface capabilities, allowing its crew to support a wide range of missions, ranging from mine clearing operations to the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid following natural disasters.
This is Stiletto's second deployment to the USSOUTHCOM's area of focus and the second deployment in direct support of U.S. and international CIT operations.
Stiletto was designed and built under a contract by the Pentagon's Office of Force Transformation (OFT). OFT accepted delivery of Stiletto in May 2006, and Stiletto has undergone testing by the Department of Defense for its usefulness in littoral operations and interoperable environments.
USNAVSO is the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) naval component command. U.S. 4th Fleet is the numbered fleet assigned to USNAVSO.
JIATF-S is the USSOUTHCOM component that oversees U.S. military support to regional CIT operations.
For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/cusns/.