Developed by the Office of Naval Research for the US Navy, the X-Craft is an experimental high-speed, aluminum-hull catamaran that will be used to test a variety of technologies allowing the Navy to improve operations in littoral, or near-shore, waters. A multi-purpose ramp lets the X-Craft launch a variety of "manned and unmanned surface and sub-surface vehicles," like inflatable boats and scouting submarine drones. Because the X-Craft will operate at speeds up to 50 knots, the IBNS is critical for optimal performance.
The vessel’s integrated bridge system (IBNS) was designed, engineered, and installed by Northrop Grumman’s Sperry Marine business unit and integrates more than 200 separate bridge and navigation components. The IBNS includes a naval electronic chart display and information system, meeting the Navy’s emerging standard for paperless charts, as well as a speed log, echo sounder, autopilot, radars, gyrocompasses, global positioning systems and weather sensors. The bridge system is also integrated with engine and steering control systems and closed-circuit TV that can be used to assist in docking.
In keeping with the Navy’s focus on transformation, the X-Craft’s design incorporates mission flexibility - it can be easily reconfigured to support a variety of missions. This is accomplished through the use of interchangeable mission modules - standard twenty-foot containers, which are housed in the craft's mission bay. Potential missions include battle-force protection, anti-submarine warfare, amphibious assault, humanitarian support or mine countermeasures.Titan Corporation, the prime contractor for the X-Craft program, selected Nichols Brothers Boat Builders of Freeland (Washington) to build the Nigel Gee & Associates-designed vessel. Nichols selected Sperry Marine to be the provider and integrator of the navigation bridge.