Association Technique Maritime et Aéronautique

Numéro : 2729 - Year : 2018

Why consider Inverted Bows on military ships? or Why not ?

Philippe GOUBAULT - Naval Group – Direction of Innovation and Technical Expertise – Bouguenais (France)

Stéphane LE PALLEC, Yann FLOCH - Naval Group – Surface Ship Design Department – Lorient (France)


The bow shapes of ships have evolved throughout history of Naval Construction. Such evolution generally follows the emergence of new requirements and new knowledge. Nevertheless, evolution is often slowed by conservatism and takes time to find its way through the naval industry. This is also true of the bow shapes as we are going to discuss in this paper

In the past 50 to 70 years, which is not a very long time span in the scale of history of the naval construction, the bows of ships have tended towards flared shapes enabling the ship to go through rough weather by spreading the spray on both sides of the ship and attempt to maintain the bow above the level of the waves encountered. This has proven more effective than the rather straight bow shapes seen in most ships around the first part of the 20th century.

However a new trend has emerged since the 1990’s, with a tendency to try again inverted bows. One can ask why change the bow shapes and take a renewed risk?  Naval Group has launched into a comprehensive analysis and test program in the past ten years in order to identify all the effects of a new design involving an inverted bow. This project has enabled identifying not only the benefits and drawbacks possible with an inverted bow, but also to determine critical design parameters which can make such a design successful. Main results of this program are presented in this paper, including its application to the latest generation of Frigate, the Belh@rra®.

This paper is written in English


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