BAE Systems has rolled out the first of 60 next-generation Pacific 24 Mark-4 rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) for the UK Royal Navy at its facility in Portsmouth.
Last year, the company was awarded a contract worth £13.5m by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to build and deliver the new Pacific 24 boats over the following three years.
The new series of vessels will be deployed on the Royal Navy ships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels, including the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers.
The boats will be deployed for a variety of tasks, ranging from counter piracy and counter narcotics missions, to force protection, rescue and logistics operations.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "These innovative boats will play a vital role in the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary, working from our new aircraft carriers and right across the fleet conducting anti-piracy, counter narcotics, and rescue missions around the world."
The contract is said to generate 14 jobs and provide additional work to ten support roles in BAE Systems’ Small Boats facility in Portsmouth dockyard.
The boats are installed with next-generation lighter and quieter 370HP twin turbo diesel electronic engines, and have the capability of electronic control and fault diagnosis to facilitate a quick spotting and fixing of issues.
They feature high-performance shock absorbing seats to reduce crew fatigue during high-speed operations, reducing the exposure to vibration for a longer duration.
Designed for deployment from ship or shore, the RIBs will have a cruise speed of up to 38k.
Image: First Pacific 24 boat rolled out by BAE Systems. Photo: courtesy of Nick Robinson, BAE Systems.