Combat Boat 90 (CB90) is a fast military assault craft developed by Swedish boat maker Dockstavarvet, a part of Saab.
Commissioned in 1991, the boat was originally built to replace the Swedish Navy’s ageing Tpbs 200 class. It represents the export version of Strp 90H, the official Swedish designation wherein H stands for the vessel’s ability to transport and deploy half a platoon of fully armed amphibious infantry.
The vessel can function as a fast assault and coastal defence boat, a patrol boat or a special operations support vessel. It can also be used for reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations.
More than 250 CB90 series boats are currently in service with several naval forces worldwide, including Sweden (CB90 HSM), Norway (S90N), Greece (CB90 HEX), Mexico (CB90 HMN), Malaysia (CB90 RMN) and the US (Riverine Command Boat).
The CB90 Next Generation (CB90 NG), the latest version of the CB90 fast assault craft, was unveiled at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2021 exhibition in London, UK.
CB90 fast military assault craft design
The CB90 ship was designed to offer seakeeping, speed, efficiency and safety in different operating conditions. Constructed from aluminium, CB90 is lightweight with an overall length of 14.9m. The ship has a displacement of 18t, with a 3.85m maximum beam and shallow draught. It has a typical chine hull configuration with reverse sheer and a narrow landing ramp at the front with one-man capacity.
The vessel can accommodate 21 fully armed soldiers and load up to 4.5t of cargo. A splinter protected wheelhouse module accommodates two operator seats and a middle jump seat within a compact aircraft-style cockpit.
The jump seat can swing in and out of place. Immediately below the cockpit is a bulkhead that is divided by a passageway, extending to a bow ramp landing area. The unique drop bow system enables rapid deployment of troops and quick extraction of casualties ashore.
The mid-section of the boat serves as the troop compartment, accommodating soldiers and their equipment. The aft 25% of the hull is configurable and can act as either a floating command post with additional communication gear or as a gunboat with options for the positioning of the armament.
Combat Boat 90 variants
Several variants of the CB90 have been built to suit specific roles, with the latest being the CB90 HSM. The first out of 18 CB90 HSMs was delivered to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) in October 2019.
The CB90HI is the export version of the Strb HS 90, where S refers to ‘Skyddad’ (Swedish for protected).
The CB90 HEX is a hybrid between the CB90 H and the CB90N, referred to as the Stridsbåt 90N (SB90N) by the Norwegian Navy. The CB90 HEX was customised for the Royal Malaysian Navy, Mexican Navy, the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN) Amphibious Corps, and the Hellenic Coast Guard.
The CB90 NL is fitted with battalion-level command and control, computer and communications equipment and a backup generator to supply power when the engines are not operating. The L refers to ‘Ledning’, which means command or leadership in Swedish.
The CB90 was licence produced by Safe Boats International as the Riverine Command Boat for the US Navy.
The CB90 fast military assault craft is armed with three browning M2HB machine guns. A 12.7mm machine gun (or a 40mm grenade launcher) is fixed on a ring-mount aft of the wheelhouse.
It can be replaced with remote-controlled, stabilised weapons for the ring-mount gun position. The twin 12.7mm is installed in front of the helmsman’s position in traverse.
The boat is also mounted with one Mk 19 grenade launcher and a modified Hellfire-type RBS 17 SSM system. Four 2.8t naval mines or six depth charges can also be carried.
Propulsion system of CB90
The CB90 is powered by two 600kW diesel engines that can cruise at speeds of up to 45k with high manoeuvrability in shallow coastal waters. The non-military patrol craft version of the ship can be equipped with two 550kW diesel engines, providing maximum speeds of up to 45k.
The vessel has two Kamewa FF water jets that are partially ducted. This feature of the water jets, along with the underwater control surfaces, allows the vessel to take extremely sharp turns even at high speeds. The maximum range is 440km at 20k (37km/h) speed. Even on unprepared beaches, the boat is fully equipped to carry out forceful landings.
Combat Boat 90 Next Generation
The CB90 NG provides improved efficiency, ergonomics, crew comfort, stealth, manoeuvrability and speed. It has an overall length of 16.3m and hull length of 14.9m. The assault craft has a displacement ranging between 18t and 24.5t. It can carry up to 21 troops and achieve a maximum speed of more than 40k.
The vessel is equipped with an improved combat management system and surveillance sensors, ballistic protection, and Saab’s Trackfire remote weapon station. Trackfire enables weapons to be launched with precision while the vessel is mobile. It provides the vessel with a stabilised independent line of sight (SILOS) that enables reduced target acquisition time. The infrared (IR) cameras that are part of the Trackfire system ensure enhanced surveillance capabilities.
The on-board weapon systems also include large calibre machine guns, MK19 grenade launcher, depth charges and naval mines.
The next-generation vessel can be used in different roles, such as threat detection and tracking, intelligence, and quick deployment of troops.