KITTERY, Maine — Gov. Maggie Hassan and other New Hampshire state officials had an opportunity to get a first-hand look at the Juliet Marine System’s Ghost boat during a visit to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on Monday.
Juliet Marine Systems has an office in Portsmouth but houses the boat at the shipyard for closer access to water for sea trials. Since the company’s founding in 2008, President and CEO Gregory E. Sancoff and his team have been developing the innovative ship.
“If it wasn’t for the shipyard here, I am not sure where we’d be as a company,” Sancoff said.
The company has signed a contract with Great Bay Community College to purchase its former campus on Route 33 in Stratham with plans to develop a manufacturing facility there but plan to continue leasing space from the shipyard as well.
Juliet currently employs 17 people between Portsmouth and Kittery and plans to add about 40 new jobs when the Stratham facility opens. Plans for that project are still being finalized.
Juliet is also working with Great Bay Community College to develop specific training for the company’s needs.
“It is a signal to young people that there are good science, engineering and tech jobs in New Hampshire,” said Ross Gittell, chancellor of the Community College System of New Hampshire.
Sancoff said he was moved to start the company after the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000. At the time he was running a medical device company in Hampton, but had a background in designing high-speed and high-range boats and used that knowledge to start developing a boat that could help protect sailors in dangerous waters.
The center hull of the boat rides several feet out of the water, meaning it can go through four to five foot seas at 30 miles per hour and those on the boat would hardly notice. This provides greater stability, allowing sailors to arrive at their destination “fit to fight” and the gyro stabilization also makes it good for weapons systems.
The boat can be easily broken down to fit into a C-17 transport plane and then re-assembled on site.
The boat moves using supercavitation techniques, meaning the two torpedo shaped engines that ride on the water can displace water with air to reduce friction.
It also uses a computer-driven system that could easily be made into an unmanned system.
The shape is also designed for stealth. Chase boats have reported spotting the boat’s dinghy before the boat itself.
“This is a great example of New Hampshire ingenuity coming to the floor,” Hassan said on Monday, adding that is also a great example of a successful public/private partnership.
“It is really revolutionary. This vessel will allow Naval forces to travel under radar, keeping them safe, and there are tons of technological applications to be taken from this process,” Hassan said.
Hassan also was joined on the tour by Speaker of the House Terie Norelli, state senators Martha Fuller Clark and Nancy Stiles and state economic development officials including Jeff Rose, commissioner for the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development.