The UK Royal Navy’s (RN) Diving and Threat Exploitation Group has received the sixth and last support boat developed as part of Vahana workboat programme.
The six vessels have been built by Dorset-based company Atlas Elektronik to replace the service’s old fleet of workboats that were in service since 1990s.
The new 15m-long Vahana boats will provide enhanced speed, range, operational capability and navigation equipment to the RN diving group.
Out of the six new vessels, one has been deployed to operate in Gibraltar, two are based at the Defence Dive School in Portsmouth and the remaining boats are operated by UK Fleet Diving Units in Portsmouth, Scotland and Plymouth.
DE&S Boats Team project manager James Melia said: “It is great news to see six dive support boats delivered to RN and reach full operating capability.
“The vessels offer a significantly updated and upgraded maritime platform from which RN personnel can conduct their duties. They enable movement from analogue to digital capability with a major update to command, control and navigation system.”
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The associated contract for this programme was awarded to Atlas Elektronik from the Ministry of Defence’s procurement unit Defence Equipment and Support in 2017.
Under this £51m project, the company was responsible to deliver all the six boats to the service in five years.
The six boats have been delivered to the RN as part of a broader Vahana Workboat programme, that comprises of 35 vessels.
Atlas Elektronik surface ship systems division head Wesley Galliver said: “The capability provided by dive boat variant of our SEA-class vessel will significantly enhance RN’s military diving capability.
“They are flexible, modular design of SEA-class vessels along with common systems will help rationalise training, spares and support across the flotilla.”