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February 10, 2021

Q&A: Talking maritime vessels with Marine Alutech

Marine Alutech is a leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art maritime vessels for the military, law enforcement, and other maritime sectors.

Marine Alutech is a leading manufacturer of state-of-the-art maritime vessels for the military, law enforcement, and other maritime sectors. 2021 is a milestone for the 30th-anniversary celebration. The company is based near the capital of Finland, Helsinki. Their focus includes 5m-25m size range high-speed planing hulls, typically marine diesel and waterjet propulsion machinery, as well as modular weapon and self-protection systems.

The company’s core functions are prime contractor services, project management, design, and manufacture of aluminium and composite vessels, including life cycle maintenance. Marine Alutech’s special expertise also includes unmanned vessels, electromagnetic interference and compatibility (EMI / EMC), electrical systems, and integration of weapon and CBRN systems.

The company has vessels successfully operating in locations worldwide with references in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.

As Marine Alutech’s home market, Finland has the largest references of the company’s vessels, something that the company is proud of, as it sees itself as a partner of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Border Guard rather than just a supplier.

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So what has been the key success factor for this innovative company?

“Our ability to recognise customer requirements,” says Niko Haro, the company’s CEO. “This helps us understand the exact requirements of our customers’ needs and means we provide vessels that match these requirements.”

Mr Haro is cautious when answering this question as he appreciates the goalposts are always moving. “30 years ago, the benchmark was speeds of 40k with very simple manual weapon systems. Now, we discuss with customers whose requirements are vessels with full integrated weapons systems that achieve speeds over 50k. Everyone wants to go faster and be more heavily armed,” he comments.

The M range of their Watercat line of vessels recognises this specific focus of the company. M stands for military, thus putting the project builds through significantly more rigorous internal design and build processes.

Watercat M12

The M range consists of the M12 size vessel that is designed primarily for troop transport but also for amphibious support. It can be fitted with the Patria NEMO 120mm mortar system. The M18 can be designed for troop transport but also be configured to a weaponised platform. More than 30 of M12 and 12 M18 vessels with a wheelhouse roof-mounted RWS are in service with the Finland Defence force.

Watercat M18

The flagship of the M range is the M22. Using the same design concepts as the M18, it is physically a larger vessel. Haro is quick to point out that a slightly larger vessel size adds significant capability. “We can engineer a weapons suite onboard to include up to a 40mm main gun, 2 x 12.7mm side guns, and a medium-range missile system. With a proven hull shape, machinery to achieve speeds of 50+kn, we believe this vessel offers multiple roles and tactics needed for today’s military organisations.”

Haro is coy about answering questions about demand. He gives nothing away about interest in the M vessel range, except to say that the company is in various stages of negotiations with many organisations for the supply of these heavily armed multi-role vessels.

While the focus is on meeting customer expectations and achieving this is with the current M range of Watercat vessels, Haro is quick to point out that the company is still very active in the law enforcement and commercial markets. “We have been servicing these markets for our complete 30-year history, and this sector has been very loyal to us and we are happy to reciprocate that loyalty.”

Recent successes include a fleet of 14 vessels to a Middle East Coast Guard authority and seven vessels to a Port Authority in Singapore.

Combine this with support of 60 dedicated personnel, full ISO 9000 and AQAP management recognition, prime waterfront facilities, newly built state-of-the-art outfitting halls – the future looks promising.

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