It looks like your typical junk, tooling around on coastal waterways in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s. Think of it in Apocalypse Now terms: It was basically a water taxi for personnel on highly classified missions. OK, so then say that classified mission is somehow compromised—here's what it looks like when it literally blows its cover:
The fake gunwales on the rear of the hull fall away, and the masts come down (hopefully not on someone's head). Suddenly, the boat is less encumbered, more free to speed out to open sea where the good ole USAF can provide adequate air support. If you're found out, says Spycraft co-author Keith Melton, this would increase "your chance of living," which is nice. Boats like this were definitely in use, though the CIA will not say how often, or in what specific situations.
Melton says the concept is similar to an earlier one, the Q Boat or Mystery Ship, a gunship masked as a merchant vessel used during World War I to lure submarines to the surface.
All of this CIA tech and much more like it is covered with great depth and hair-raising anecdotes in Spycraft, a new book by Robert Wallace and H. Keith Melton, reviewed by us, and available for pre-order at Amazon.