here are numerous advantages of a trimaran hull form over conventional mono-hulls:RV Triton with RFA Brambleleaf reduced costs, reduced signature, significantly less drag leading to increased speed, increased length giving greater stability, and more area for the upper deck which could be used for the flight deck and hangars for helicopters and extra armament. It is possible that the wide upper deck will lead to the provision of a second hangar which could be used for other service helicopters such as the Apache for land attack, support or relief operations.
Not sure how out of date the Navy website is......but I had dealings with a ship called The Triton about 6 months ago. I work in the oil industry now, and we used it for seismic surveying. From what I remember, it was owned by Gardline and it was the biggest trimaran in the world. Some machine!
Afterthought while I was typing this up....Here's a link to their site:
From a military standpoint, trimaran warships may be the way forward. There are two important features of the design which particularly appeal to naval architects.
1. The outer hulls minimise the risk of either anti-shiping missiles or torpedoes penetrating the main centreline hull.
2. The increased beam of the vessel allows you to mount your radar arrays higher, giving increased range and earlier warning.
Other than that, the design is inherently more stable than a mono-hull, and the increased deck space lends itself to numerous applications.
So what's the downside then Sandmanfez? Is it simply that they haven't gotten around to ironing out the design issues? As a sailboat sailor I always understood catamarans etc to be faster but not as capable in heavy weather?
Triton was sold off recently by Qinetic as the MoD had no further use for it research wise, and the Future Surface Combatant programme was binned in Nov 04 (more detials at http://frn.beedall.com/fsc.htm , including more phots of various trimaran proposals). There was a proposal for it to stand in as a PB while the Castle Class had helicopter decks added but that's been binned.
I seem to recall that, perversely, it had worse sea keeping than an equivelent monohull as the sponsons had a wider arc of movement in poor weather, bad for weapons systems.
I'm not sure what the downsides are, if any, but my understanding is, that in high sea states the Triton was much less liable to yaw or roll. Presumably, the ship heaves up and down whilst maintaining the same attitude across her decks.