DERA’s prototypical trimaran research vessel Triton is spending the month touring the US eastern seaboard

Britain’s Defence And Research Agency (DERA, shortly to be re-named QinetiQ) is hoping to impress the US Department of Defense (DOD) with RV Triton, the three-hulled warship prototype built by Vosper Thorneycroft, Woolston and launched in May 2000.

The 91m vessel features two outriggers, giving the ship a maximum beam of 22.5m. The reduction in wetted surface area of a narrow hull means the boat can travel both faster and more economically without any loss in stability thanks to the outriggers.

The British and American governments agreed that the US Navy would install their Trials Instrumentation System (TIS) for sea trials. TIS continually monitors over 300 data sources including structural sensors, steering gear, engine room, pitch and yaw, navigation and the environment.

The vessel was partly inspired by Nigel Irens, whose work in the field of powered multihulls has already produced the record-breaking Cable & Wireless Adventurer. Irens insisted the design was not a trimaran in any real sense, but a stabilised monohull.

The prototype is being considered as a possible replacement for the Royal Navy’s current generation of Type 22/23 frigates.