Willard Marine has been awarded a contract by the US Navy to deliver additional new-generation 11m-long rigid inflatable boats (RIB) for standard vessel boat operations.

To date, the navy has ordered eight standard craft with an open centre console (OCC) configuration and two OCC LPD-17 class variants.

Willard Marine president and chief executive officer Ulrich Gottschling said: "Willard Marine is well-regarded for developing the most reliable heavy-duty, ruggedised commercial fibreglass hull available today, and we are committed to innovating the next generation of military RIBs that will perform reliably in the most challenging sea conditions, while keeping our service men and women safe."

Powered by Cummins QSB 6.7L 380hp twin engines, paired with Hamilton Jet HJ292 water jets, the RIBs will feature aft and detachable seating for more individuals on the foredeck. All boats will be equipped with WING inflatable tubes.

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"We are committed to innovating the next generation of military RIBs that will perform reliably in the most challenging sea conditions."

The latest contract award follows a recent five-year US Navy deal for the supply of two types of 7m RIBs to operate as service lifeboats for search-and-rescue missions.

These will be powered by a 254hp inboard Steyr diesel engine with a Bravo Two X MerCruiser stern drive and will be equipped with a Briartek man overboard indicator system display and antenna, in addition to a forward M60 / M240 machine gun foundation.

Willard Marine has been delivering RIBs to the navy since 2000, with several being procured through the foreign military sales (FMS) unit.

Image: All RIBs under the latest contract will be deployed for standard vessel boat operations. Photo: courtesy of Willard Marine Incorporated.

Defence Technology