Drone boat for military to be built in Bothell
Click image

A fast-moving, gray and black object crisscrossed Puget Sound near Everett during the week of October 1, 2010.  It was not an orca, it was a Piranha USV, a 54-foot-long prototype of an unmanned surface vessel (USV) that began its sea trials.

It's made of carbon-fiber composites like the 787 Dreamliner, but with an extra ingredient — nanotube molecules that add strength and stiffness, according to developer Zyvex Technologies of Ohio.

Unlike the Dreamliner, the Piranha will be manufactured locally. Zyvex has leased space in Bothell where it will have 20 employees by year-end and perhaps double that in 2011, building the two sections that are assembled to make the vessel, says President Lance Criscuolo. Seattle Times

That's Mount Baker, way north of Everett

The Piranha weighs 5 tons with engine and transmission, says Criscuolo, and it can carry 7 ½ tons of payload and fuel.

The company expects it to cruise at 25 knots for 2,800 nautical miles, or speed for shorter distances at 45 knots.

The lightweight composite-fiber material is one reason for that kind of performance. The prototype "is the largest structure ever built from these enhanced materials — nanoreinforced carbon fiber," says Zyvex director of defense applications Michael Nemeth.

Company Web Site