Modern conventional fast ships rarely go over speeds of 30 knots, simply because conventional hull forms do not allow higher speeds without unacceptably powerful and complex powerplant (a la LCS), which then means less volume and displacement avaliable for other necessities. High speeds are also very rarely necessary, which means that most ships can sacrifice high speed in exchange for greater firepower, survivability, or endurance. However, combat and peacetime operations have always required ships capable of achieving high speeds, for purposes such as reconnaissance, surprise attacks and combat in general, especially in littoral waters where small hulls dominate and enemy can appear from basically anywhere. High speed is also desireable for deployment of rapid-response forces as an answer to an unexpected crisis, and as airlift is of limited capacity, high-speed sealift is desireable. This means balancing out requirements for high speed, range and high payload.
In conventional ships, developing…
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