BAE Systems has received a contract from the UK Ministry of Defence to build and deliver 60 new Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) for the Royal Navy.

Under the £13.5m contract, BAE will supply the next-generation Pacific 24 Mark-4 boats, which will be deployed on Royal Navy ships, including offshore patrol vessels.

The RIBs are also planned for deployment on the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, which are scheduled to arrive in Portsmouth in 2017.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "These 60 new RIBs provide a vital capability to the Royal Navy and are a clear benefit of the £178bn this government is investing in new military equipment."

"These 60 new RIBs provide a vital capability to the Royal Navy and are a clear benefit of the £178bn this government is investing."

BAE Systems product and training services director Les Gregory said: "Our focus for the next-generation Pacific 24 was to extend the operational capabilities of a boat’s crew through the use of shock-absorbing seats designed to reduce driver and crew fatigue.

"The new seats provide significantly greater performance but are much heavier, so we faced an additional challenge to reduce the weight on the boat elsewhere to compensate.

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"Structural composites and a lighter engine gave us the biggest weight savings, whilst ensuring we maintained the necessary payload requirements."

BAE plans to commence construction of the crafts in early 2016 at its small boats manufacturing facility at the Portsmouth Naval Base.

Work under the contract is scheduled to be completed over the next four years.

Featuring high-performance shock absorbing seats to reduce crew fatigue, the Pacific 24 RIBs are powered by 370HP twin turbo diesel electronic engines.

Designed for deployment from ship or shore, the RIBs will have a cruise speed of up to 38k and will be used to support fast rescue, anti-piracy and counter-narcotics missions.

Image: BAE will build Pacific 24 Mark-4 boats at its manufacturing facility at Portsmouth Naval Base. Photo: courtesy of BAE Systems.