Posts Tagged ‘may 4’

Well That’s It: The Bay Area’s Formerly-Secret U.S. Navy “Sea Shadow” Stealth Ship Auctioned for Scrap Today

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Just like it was on eBay.

But back in the day, this ship was all that.

See?

The auction ends on Friday May 4, 2012. The buyer will be required to cut up this stealth ship for scrap. Current bid is $300k.

Oh well.

This boat was built here in the Bay Area and now it’s about to die here.

All the deets, below.

Remember  back when Bay Areans could espy the straight-outta-Redwood-City $200-million Sea Shadow stealth ship bobbing about in San Francisco Bay? Check this video from down Fun Diego way over at Telstar Logistics to see this baby in action.

Say it aloud: Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship, Super-Secret Sea Shadow Stealth Ship! This project was so secret that it didn’t make the Bay Area newspapers up until 1999, when this boat was identified as an airplane three times by the San Francisco Examiner.*

But lately, the ex Sea Shadow just sits around in the mothballed Ghost Fleet of the East Bay over in Benicia. Check out these great photos from Amy Heiden. Pretty boss, huh?

Now the first time the Navy tried to get rid of this historic boat, in 2006, they had all sorts of rules. Then they tried again in 2009 with more flexible rules. But the problem is that you can’t just take the Shadow, you also have to take the Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1), a floating drydock boat that was developed as part of Project Jennifer. (That was the semi-successful, top-secret effort mounted by the Central Intelligence Agency to salvage the remains of the Soviet submarine K-129 from the ocean floor.)

Here’s a shot of  them together, ignore the two conventional warships in the background:

But wait, there’s more. Here’s how the Sea Shadow is laid out on the inside:

The bridge of Grant Imahara’s future evil lair. (Boy, talk about a glass cockpit, huh?)

And here’s how she looks from the outside:

You want. However, nobody set up a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and take these things off of the Navy’s hands. So now an important piece of Bay Area military history (and film history what with it inspiring the bad guys’ floating lair in Tomorrow Never Dies) is a gonna get scrapped.

Here’s what came next, after the Shadow got mothballed – it’s the all-aluminum Sea Fighter, as seen back in 2006:

via Telstar Logistics

The point being is that the aging Sea Shadow is the ur-ship, the JetFire of the stealth boat world. Why didn’t anybody save her?

Check out the owner’s manuals - pretty soon, that will be all that’s left…

Ever more deets, after the jump.

*From 1999: “The combined Navy-Marine exercise included overflights of the Bay Area by the Sea Shadow, the Navy equivalent of the stealth bomber.” No, this thing can’t fly, it just floats. Veteran SF Chronicle writer Henry K. Lee got that right but others did not. Nevertheless, SFGate.com, San Francisco’s online newspaper, remains an invaluable resource.

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