The Watercat M12 with its Middle Life Upgrade is a modernized type of a landing and coastal troop command craft for the Finnish Marines. More than 30 of M12 vessels are commissioned in the Finnish Defense Forces fitted with advanced navigation and 12.7mm close combat support machine guns suitable for landing operations. In the design, special attention has been paid to vessel’s easy and cost-effective maintenance during its life cycle. Thus, the vessel’s operational sustainability is very high.
The Watercat M12 landing crafts is designed for high-speed landing operations for Marines. The vessel is designed to operate in demanding military operations in the littoral, confined, and shallow water environments and weather conditions. Vessel can be ballistic protected and carry up to 25 soldiers with their equipment’s on shock absorbed seats in covered troop compartment and wheelhouse. The detachable wheelhouse is situated on top of the engine room for easy maintenance and the cargo hold/troop compartment is in front of the wheelhouse. Vessel’s manually and hydraulically operated hatches and bow ramp ensure fast deployment, loading and unloading of troops with their equipment’s. M12 vessels can be equipped with advanced navigation, compact C3 and versatile weapon systems such as 7.62mm and 12.7mm machine guns as well as 40mm grenade launchers all suitable for landing operations. M12 can also be fitted with Patria NEMO 120mm mortar system.
The low draft in high speed (approximately 1m) enables the boats to operate also in disaster and crisis areas such as river and estuary environments either landing on beaches or on an unimproved area. The hull is made of marine grade aluminium and the construction is all welded. The propulsion is two waterjets powered by two diesel engines giving a top speed over 30k with full load. Sprint speed for the lightweight vessel can be reached over 40k. The waterjet system gives the boat excellent maneuverability and when necessary the boat can be stopped almost within one boat’s length from full ahead. An essential advantage in coastal use is that, due to the waterjet propulsion, the bottom of the boat is perfectly smooth which enables the boat to operate safely in very shallow waters. Safety during the transportation and easy maneuverability in every speed and sea states of its operating environment is paramount.