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Innovation in the Littoral


Whilst we have been talking about patrol vessels and other water-based subjects various designs and suggestions have been floated (see what I did there) but they were all characterised as being not of these shores.

Whilst the large naval and complex ship design sector might have its problems the small craft sector is very much alive and well with lots of innovation and export success.

A few favourites…

Holyhead Marine make the Royal Marines Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC) and MoD Police boats

Griffon Hoverwork have a wide range of very successful hovercraft including the new 2400TD’s, also in service with the Royal Marines

They have also been a large part of the effort to produce the PACSCAT fast landing craft currently under development.

Alnmaritec, perhaps not as well-known as the others but great success as a boat builder and designer, if you look at recent pictures of HMS Protector you will see a small landing craft, from Alnmaritec.

Meercat Workboats, although not in service with the armed forces the Meercat RT Workboat is a fantastic bit of design. The RT stands for road transportable; the boat can be split in two for ease of road transport.

Mustang Marine design and manufacture a range of RIB’s that are used in the most arduous conditions.

Finally (and there are many more) is my all-time favourite, C-Truck

The CTruck 20 is a workboat designed to support the ever-growing offshore wind industry but it has a number of very interesting features. A composite hull is combined with Rolls Royce waterjets/vector stick control systems and a very clever modular pod arrangement with a sliding wheelhouse that can be reconfigured to suit a number of different roles.

And if that isn’t cool enough check out the CTruck Avenger amphibious rescue vehicle that can be launched and recovered from the rear ramp of the workboat.

C-Truck also have a SWATH hull form in development, the C-Truck Whisper

So these aren’t in the same league as the modules on the LCS Let’s not forget that Blighty is still capable of innovation and intelligent design.

Military applications?

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15 Responses

  1. Very interesting TD.

    I’ve been looking at coastal craft (mainly fast patrol/attack but…) for a while and one of the bonuses is their relative cheapness and the production base; there are many small to medium sized businesses like those above which produce motor yachts or work boats but could produce the military vessels.

    The c-truck looks like an ideal MCM daughter craft, perhaps optionally manned? With a cargo capacity of 20 tons it can carry a lot (ISO container if there’s room)or be used to ferry troops, VIP’s, civvies, etc.

    Hovercraft are cool! Much more expensive to buy and run than “normal” boats but they have obvious unique capabilities. Brown in Future surface Fleet talked about using hovercraft for rapid MCM route sweep/scan clearance; due to their fast speed and relatively little influence in the water they are very good at this. The air cushion also helps protect it against mines which do go off.

    P.S. All those Welsh firms… Ah, there’s lovely…

  2. I think I’ve mentioned this before but if I was to walk out the front door with a bow and arrow I could hit (he says) CTruks factory (with a bit of luck and guess work). Innovation taking place just around the corner!

  3. Agreed with this being an interesting topic to explore TD. Nice one.

    For a balance of all-round capability speed/range/loading I’ve not seen anything that offers better than the Finnish M12 ‘Jurmo’ LCP’s personally.

    That said though, as an alternate payload option, this Wave Supplier class you’ve linked from Alnmaritec ( looks like it could be seriously handy for larger UUV deployments, diver support and emergency assistance missions.

    Very interesting seeing whats out there and the capability they could offer a properly configured parent vessel at reasonably low costs.

  4. YES -‘one word mateys “Hovercraft” !

    I think I need to change my underpants………. :-)

  5. I thought the CWhisper looked like a great MCM candidate. Looks like MHS-1’s big brother.

  6. Whisper and MCM have been mentioned twice already, I thought the same when I saw the photo.

    At these dimensions it comes very close to the French design, Swordfish:
    Length over all: 19.5m
    Beam over all: 7.8m
    Draft: 1.48m
    Displacement: 30 tonnes

    The Espadon (swordfish) is an unmanned surface vessel that is 17 meters long and displaces 25 tonnes

    The latter’s optimised launch facilities (utilizing the protection afforded by the catamaran hull) come across clearly in these photos
    – this time also the hypothetical mothership design is shown, a happy 100m and 3.000 t marriage of TD’s SIMMS and Whisper’s hull form

  7. Anyone know of any foreign design small craft that could prove useful to the services but that they think the UK industry aren’t competing with “sovereignly” (Is that even a word? Off for more coffee…) yet?

  8. i’ve met some of the Alnmaritec chaps in the world of work, i like their boats.

  9. Fascinating group of vessels. That PACSCAT seems a hell of a piece of gear and very desirable for the Royal Marines. I don’t know whether it was going flat out or what its top speed is but it seems about three times as fast as the LCU10, which can achieve over 8 knots Anyone know whether, like the LCU10, it has both bow and stern ramps? That would also dramatically speed up the disembarkation of vehicles, cargo etc.

  10. ACC,

    Yes. Interesting mothership. Is it me, or does it seem strange to build an MCM mothership that can only carry two daughter-craft? Seems like you will still need many motherships to perform MCM over any significant area in a reasonable period of time. If not two, then what is the “right” number?

    I wonder if these large USVs could be used for ASW as well? Maybe a small towed array and a couple of torpedo tubes?

    I think SWATH is preferable to a cat here as well. Much better slow-speed seakeeping, and potentially quieter too.

  11. @ B.Smitty – I’ve been thinking along similar lines – Could shallow MCM and ASW be combined? Coastal Underwater warfare?

  12. Swimming Trunks,

    That’s what I’m wondering. Shallow ASW is better addressed by many smaller sensor (fixed, semi-fixed and mobile) rather than fewer, larger sensors (towed arrays on warships).

    The LCS ASW module planned to include the ULITE towed array carried by a RHIB. But IMHO, the sensor size and capabilities was driven by the towing platform that would comfortably fit on our warships, not by what is optimal for the task. But that begs the question, what is optimal for the task?

    IMHO, MHS-1 had a lot going for it here. It was significantly larger and had better seakeeping, towing performance and endurance than a RHIB, but still small enough to be air transportable and relatively easy to integrate with motherships. CWhisper and Swordfish are much larger, but have even greater endurance/speed/payload.

    Larger means fewer numbers but greater individual capacity. So what’s the right balance?

  13. Saw a PASCAT for sale recently, can’t find it now but it was about 650k. I wonder why we don’t just keep these things, its not like we have high quantities for any kit really surely it must be handy.

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