Cutlass class patrol boats are being built by Marine Specialised Technology (MST), a manufacturer of rigid inflatable and high-speed workboats. Designed by BMT, the fast patrol boat is intended for patrolling the naval and territorial waters around HMNB Gibraltar and British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) as well as supporting the British Navy exercises and operations in the area.

MST was awarded a six-year contract worth £9.9m ($11.47m) by the UK Royal Navy for two new boats in July 2020. The new vessels will replace the HMS Dasher and HMS Pursuer Archer class vessels. The contract also includes four years of in-service support.

The construction of the vessels began in July 2020 at MST’s boatyard in Merseyside, UK. The first Cutlass class patrol boat, HMS Cutlass, was built at a cost of £5m ($5.65m) and arrived at Gibraltar for sea trials in November 2021. The vessel was handed over to the Gibraltar Squadron in February 2022 following three months of sea trials. The Gibraltar Squadron will carry out further trials before declaring full operational capability in spring 2022.

The second patrol boat, HMS Dagger, is also scheduled to be delivered in spring 2022.

Design and features of Cutlass class patrol boat

The Cutlass class patrol boat features a deep-V monohull. Its hull measures 17.5m long and 4.8m wide, while the overall length and width of the vessel are 19m and 5.3m, respectively. The maximum draft of the vessel is 0.95m.

The ship has an empty weight of 28,000kg and maximum deadweight of 7,300kg. The full load displacement of the vessel is approximately 35,000kg.

The fuel capacity of the boat is 5,000l, while fresh water carrying capacity is 350l and black/grey water carrying capacity is 450l.

The boat has a dedicated stowage compartment and can accommodate six crew members and six passengers.

Cutlass class patrol boat armament

The patrol boat will have three general-purpose machine guns. One of the guns will be located on the front deck, with the other two on the aft deck. The guns can fire 0.5mm calibre ammunition.

The boat will also feature the latest electronic and optical equipment to help with the identification of potential threats.

Navigation and control

The Cutlass class fast patrol boat is equipped with the CGI OpenSea360 maritime mission system, which interlinks on-board and off-board systems and sensors through a secure network. The user interface of the system features multi-function displays that enable full system control and enhanced situational awareness.

The OpenSea360 system features open architecture that provides mission-critical information and additional data to the crew members.

Propulsion and performance

The boat is powered by Volvo D13-1000 engines coupled to three MJP350X Series waterjets. The Volvo D13-1000 is a 12.8l diesel engine with a power rating of 1,000hp.

The patrol craft can sail at a maximum speed of 40k and attain a maximum range of 400nmi.

Contractors involved

Information technology and consulting firm CGI supplied the OpenSea360 mission control systems under a contract awarded by MST in October 2020.

The waterjets were supplied by Marine Jet Power, a designer and manufacturer of waterjet propulsion systems.

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