Safehaven Marine makes boats that can go where few others can. From Pilot Tenders to Rescue Boats that can overturn in high surf and keep on going, their products are truly hardcore. Now, the famed boat builder is setting its eyes on the law enforcement and military market with their stealthy Barracuda interceptor boat.
The jet-black go-fast patrol boat has a crew of 4 to 6 and can carry 12 people when it needs to. Its deep-V hull can rip across the waves at over 40 knots for about 230 miles on a single tank of gas. Propulsion comes from two diesel-electric engines each punching out 600hp, which can be tied to a pair of screws or an advanced waterjet system. All together, the Barracuda is stated to be able to operate in up to sea state 8 (that’s up to 46 foot swells!) and can maintain operational speeds at sea state 5 (up to 13 foot swells). This is an amazing capability for a boat this size.
Because of its rescue boat roots, the Barracuda is extremely survivable, with four watertight compartments, self righting, and carbon fiber used everywhere in her construction to make her as light and durable as possible.
The Barracuda’s cabin is spacious with fantastic visibility, and it is adaptable for multiple missions with shock absorbing crew seats designed to accept work stations. The boats massive windows are made of ballistic glass and the whole cabin can easily be upgraded with light-weight ballistic panels without permanent modifications.
Barracuda can be equipped with a variety of sensors and weapon systems, including a remotely operated, stabilized heavy machine gun and decoy/smoke grenade launcher turret mounted in a pop-up configuration on the boat’s bow. Presumably, this could be replaced by a grenade launcher or even possibly a light missile system depending on what the buyer wants.
Additionally, manned light machine guns can be mounted on pintle mount’s at the corners of the boat’s stern. All combined, that is a lot of whoop ass for a relatively small boat capable of thrashing through extremely high seas. The Barracuda has so much volume and is so adaptable that it can accommodate a wide variety of sensors, including radar, sonar, FLIR and other missionized electronics suites. Most of the ship’s antennas and emitters can be mounted inside the enclosed mast that sits atop the cabin.
Where the Barracuda get’s really interesting is when you consider that Safehaven Marine claims it is a stealth boat, with a very small radar cross-section. The concept behind its stealthy design is that it can supposedly work in pursuit and apprehend modes.
Yes, it has a Pursuit Mode. Get excited.
Pursuit Mode is where the boat is “cleaned up” with all its weaponry concealed within its carbon fiber frame. Then, once the choice is made for direct action against a target, the ship’s weapons and some sensors emerge, giving away its low radar profile, but allowing it to bring serious firepower to bear on the target.
The big question is, just how stealthy is Barracuda? The use of composites is a plus, and there has been some clear design work to “facet” key areas of the ship’s structure. But still, things like edge alignment and a very aggressive attempt to clear the boat of small radar reflective elements does not appear to be present. This does not mean that its design ineffective at disappearing on some radars at certain ranges. By design, Safehaven could have balanced cost and usability against signature minimization. In other words, maybe Barracuda is aimed at staying tiny on commercial grade radars up to a certain distance, at which time it will have enough speed to pounce on its prey.