Ships in the Navy were designed as closely similar as possible, not because they didn’t want to spend time and effort creating new designs and concepts but because it would be easier to train the crew on the systems if they were all similar. You know, you taught one, and you practically taught about the rest. Plus, it’ll be more practical to produce a design in bulk, rather than custom-making each of them. Just imagine the cost, time, and effort that would take. However, there would be missions and necessities that require the unique and out-of-the-cake-mold design of ships from time to time. Here are three instances.

USS Supply – The Camel Corp’s Cargo Carrier

In 1855, Congress finally approved the Secretary of War Jefferson Davis’s plan to import camels and use them as pack animals for the US Army assigned in the American Southwest. The idea was that these animals would be used as a long-range mounted force that could shoo “hostile Indians out of the country.” These camels, of course, had to be shipped to their designated location, thus the USS Supply. The ship was renovated to add special hatches, stables, hoists, and a “camel car” so that they could be loaded and transported. The first batch was obtained in North Africa, and the USS Supply even had to make some modifications to fit in the camels’ humps. They had to cut away portions of the main deck. They were safely and successfully delivered to Texas, and their potential was acknowledged, although the plan didn’t push through because of the Civil War. As for the camels, they were sold to zoos and circuses, while a few were thankfully sent back into the wild.

 

Lockheed Martin’s Sea Shadow (IX-529)

This experimental ship was built in the 1980s by Lockheed Martin and aimed to test the same stealth technology that the F-117 Nighthawk was using. If you’re going to look at them, they kind of looked similar, with the Sea Shadow being the shy sister of the stealth attack aircraft that flapped its wings down. In the two photos below, you can see their similarities.