A $195 million stealth ship that served as the inspiration behind the James Bond Movie Tomorrow Never Dies is apparently headed for the junkyard. What a waste.
According to the Daily Mail, the Navy has decided to get rid of the Sea Shadow, the 007-style, stealth ship, after two decades of experimentation. Maybe they grew tired of their toy?
Their plan was to save the ship by enticing someone to purchase it and put it on display.
Five years and millions of dollars later the Navy decided to give up on finding a museum to take it.
Navy spokesman Chris Johnson said the ship's fate is all but sealed.
The ship has the lackluster name of The Sea Shadow. Everything related to its creation was done in complete secrecy, and it cost the U. S. Navy $195 million to build and operate it.
Now it appears that the only mission the ship the will ever go on is one that takes it right to the junk heap.
“The next disposition is dismantling and recycling,” Mr. Johnson said.
And since the Navy doesn’t have any money of its own to spend, $195 million of taxpayer dollars are being dismantled too.
He added that the Navy has made the Sea Shadow available for donation from 2006 until now, Fox News reports.
“While several letters of interest were received, only one organization submitted an application, which was determined to be non-viable,” he said.
Many people will probably recognize that The Sea Shadow is the inspiration for the stealth ship in Tomorrow Never Dies. It was a mediocre film as far as Bond flicks go, but it did have a villain who was used to poke fun at how evil Rupert Murdoch is.
Mr. Johnson said he couldn't give an actual time table for its destruction, but he said the decision is centered on the lack of interest from viable takers.
It was completed in 1985 by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Lockheed Martin. It was the Navy’s first experimental stealth ship at the time.
It boasts a top speed of 14 knots and also has the ability to operate in Sea State 5 conditions, or winds from 17 to 21 knots. Size wise it comes in at 160ft long and 70ft wide.
However it was never intended for missions, just for testing. It’s not like there’s anything better they could have used the money for….
Mr. Johnson said: “The craft was built to examine application of stealth technology on naval missiles.”
The condition that the vessel is in now is unclear.
The Sea Shadow now docks inside the rusty Hughes Mining Barge, a fully submersible dry dock at the Navy's Mole Pier in San Diego, California.
The Navy is also trying to give the dry dock away. Until they have a taker it will keep the ships safely hidden from spy satellites and public view.
A Lockheed Martin spokesman said that the company hasn’t had anything to do with the ship for "at least four to five years," basically confirming there has been no upkeep or maintenance performed since then.
The ship is only 26-years-old, and it could be saved if someone agrees to take it at the last-minute, Mr. Johnson said.
The most likely scenario is that a ship-dismantling company will take the metal from the ship and sell it on the open market.
If that happens it could be used for almost anything. It could even become another hundred million dollar plus government ship that is junked in 20 years. You never know.