James Bond, the fictional womanizer spy from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, is one of the most recognizable British film icons, and his tech gadgets are a staple of the movie franchise (that is, until Daniel Craig stepped in). One of the most iconic pieces of gear Bond acquired was the classic Lotus Esprit automobile from the ‘Spy Who Loved Me’ that turned into a submarine at the press of a button.
The UK Royal Navy now have their hands on a similarly Bond-ish vehicle, which looks more like a movie prop than an actual machine: a carbon fibre speedboat that can submerge with the press of a button.
The Daily Mail report says the vessel, known as Victa, can race on the surface at speeds up to 40 knots (or 74 km/h), on a par with the speed of an average destroyer (according to Encyclopaedia Brittanica). On the surface, it relies on Rolls-Royce-made waterjets, but when submerged, switches to electric thrusters, allowing travel at up to 8 knots.
“Our design is truly cutting edge. Victa opens up potentially game changing tactical and strategic choices in maritime, joint and special operations,” stated Tim Chicken, a former Royal Marine commander who now works for SubSea Craft, the maker of the vessel.
The vessel is operated by a two-man crew and can carry up to six commandos; all aboard are required to wear scuba gear as the vessel’s cockpit floods under water, allowing for the boarding party to debark.
The vessel reportedly submerge to 98 feet and has a range of 250 nautical miles. The vessel can be transported by helicopter or attached to a Royal Navy submarine hull, the report says.
Via @SubseaCraft Compact dimensions make VICTA, our new surface-submersible, easy to transport by land, sea or air.— ALPHA PRO (@DTMsport) September 6, 2019
Next week, we’ll be on Stand S10-150 at @DSEI_event presenting the craft’s full spec. #advancedmaritimetechnology #DSEI #defence pic.twitter.com/4Xwl467NOC
According to the report, the ship is intended to be used as protection for British ships in the Persian Gulf.
“For decades, we’ve been waiting for a vessel to be developed which is effective on the surface of the water and below,” said a source in the UK Navy. “The enemy won’t be able to see or hear us coming. Given the threat to British ships in the Strait of Hormuz, its arrival is very timely.”
It is undisclosed whether the vessel comes with a closet of tight-fitting tuxedos and the mixings for a Martini shaken, not stirred.