Sea Shadow (IX-529)

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Sea Shadow (IX-529)
Sea Shadow
Sea Shadow sailing through Californian waters near San Francisco in March 1999
United States
NameSea Shadow
Awarded22 October 1982
BuilderLockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company
Acquired1 March 1985
Out of serviceSeptember 2006
StrickenSeptember 2006
FateScrapped in 2012
General characteristics
TypeStealth ship
Displacement563 long tons (572 t)
Length164 ft (50 m)
Beam68 ft (21 m)
Draft15 ft (4.6 m)
Speed14.2 knots (26.3 km/h; 16.3 mph)
Sea Shadow bridge

Sea Shadow (IX-529) was an experimental stealth ship built by Lockheed for the United States Navy to determine how a low radar profile might be achieved and to test high stability hull configurations that have been used in oceanographic ships.


Sea Shadow was built in 1984 to examine the application of stealth technology on naval vessels, and was used in secret until a public debut in 1993. In addition, the ship was designed to test the use of automation to reduce crew size. The ship was created by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the U.S. Navy and Lockheed. Sea Shadow was developed and built at Lockheed's Redwood City, California facility, inside the Hughes Mining Barge (HMB-1), which functioned as a floating drydock during construction and testing.[1]


Sea Shadow had a SWATH (small-waterplane-area twin hull) design. Below the water were submerged twin hulls, each with a propeller, aft stabilizer, and inboard hydrofoil. The portion of the ship above water was connected to the hulls via the two angled struts. The SWATH design helped the ship remain stable in rough water up to sea state 6 (wave height of 18 feet (5.5 m) or "very rough" sea). The shape of the superstructure was sometimes compared to the casemate of the ironclad ram CSS Virginia of the American Civil War.[1]

Sea Shadow had 12 bunks, one small microwave oven, a refrigerator and table. It was not intended to be mission-capable and was never commissioned, although it is listed in the Naval Vessel Register.

Sea Shadow was revealed to the public in 1993, and was housed at the San Diego Naval Station until September 2006, when it was relocated with the Hughes Mining Barge to the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet in Benicia, California. Until 2006, Sea Shadow and the HMB-1 were maintained and operated by Lockheed Martin for the US Navy. The vessels were available for donation to a maritime museum.[1]

The USNS Impeccable and Victorious ocean surveillance ships have inherited the stabilizer and canard method to help perform their stability-sensitive intelligence collection missions.[1]

In 2006, the U.S. Navy tried to sell Sea Shadow to the highest bidder;[1][2] after the initial offering met with a lack of interest, it was listed for dismantling sale on[3] The US government mandated that the buyer not sail the ship and be required to scrap it. The ship was finally sold in 2012.[4][5] Sea Shadow was dismantled in 2012 by Bay Ship & Yacht Company.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

In the 1997 James Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies, media tycoon Elliot Carver (Sir Jonathan Pryce) operated a stealth ship that resembled Sea Shadow's appearance. Christened as Sea Dolphin II in the film, the secret and stealthy floating lair was used as a plot device to attempt to initiate World War III.[7]

In the Strike series, it appears in Urban Strike as a enemy unit and in Nuclear Strike as home base.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Newman, Barry (February 24, 2009). "The Navy has a Top-Secret Vessel it wants to put on display; Sea Shadow and its Satellite-Proof Barge need a home; Plotting in Providence". Wall Street Journal. p. 1.
  2. ^ "Top-Secret Navy Vessel Needs a Home". Fox News. 2009-02-24.
  3. ^ "BID DEPOSIT-SEA SHADOW/HMB-1". General Services Administration.
  4. ^ Time Magazine, May 11, 2012, p. 5
  5. ^ "Innovative stealth ship sold to Alameda firm for scrap". The Sacramento Bee. 2012-07-06. Archived from the original on 2012-07-10.
  6. ^ Kurhi, Eric (1 July 2013). "Now tons of scrap, Sunnyvale Lockheed facility's Sea Shadow leaves a stealthy, high-tech legacy". Retrieved 2015-07-31.
  7. ^ Suciu, Peter (28 August 2021). "Meet the Sea Shadow: The U.S. Navy's Stealth Ship Straight Out of a Bond Film". The National Interest.

This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain. The entry can be found here.

External links[edit]