VESSEL REVIEW | Matawha – Fast multi-role boats for Royal New Zealand Navy

Best Innovative Patrol Boat – Matawha (Photo: New Zealand Defence Force)

The Royal New Zealand Navy has taken delivery of three new high-speed craft in a series built by Australia-based the PFG Group via its Sentinel Boats division.

The 12.6- by 3.73-metre littoral manoeuvre craft (LMC) have been named Matawha (“Copper Shark”), Ururoa (“Great White Shark”), and Mako after three species of shark found in New Zealand waters. Missions will include diver delivery, troop transport, and hydrographic support.

The LMCs each have an HDPE hull built to be impact-resistant and that generates a lower magnetic and acoustic signature compared to FRP or aluminium, making the vessels ideal for mine countermeasures missions. The boats’ hulls also have minimal maintenance requirements. Painting of the hulls is not required and there is no risk of corrosion or degradation from electrolysis.

Power for each boat is provided by two Cummins QSB6.7 410kW diesel engines driving Hamilton HJX29 waterjets to deliver speeds in excess of 40 knots and a range of more than 150 nautical miles even at a full load displacement of 10 tonnes.

Photo: New Zealand Defence Force

Each LMC can transport six divers with diving equipment and a 5.3-metre rubber boat, hydrographic survey technicians with unmanned vehicles, or an infantry section of 10 soldiers. The vessels each have a standard crew of three.

The electronics suite on each boat also includes a Furuno radar and a dynamic positioning system.

Although initially unarmed, the LMCs can be configured to mount machine guns forward and aft for self-defence or to provide suppressive fire when inserting and recovering troops.

The boats will be operated by HMNZS Matataua, the Royal New Zealand Navy’s shore-based littoral warfare unit responsible for military hydrography, clearance diving, and logistics support activities. These can also be transported aboard the dive hydrographic and salvage vessel HMNZS Manawanui and deployed and recovered via davits.

The LMCs were built to a design by Australia-based One2Three Naval Architects.

Matawha, Ururoa & Mako
Type of vessel: Littoral manoeuvre craft
Flag: New Zealand
Owner: Royal New Zealand Navy
Designer: One2Three Naval Architects, Australia
Builder: PFG Group, Australia
Hull construction material: HDPE
Length overall: 12.6 metres
Beam: 3.73 metres
Displacement: 10 tonnes
Main engines: 2 x Cummins QSB6.7, each 410 kW
Propulsion: 2 x Hamilton HJX29 waterjets
Maximum speed: 40 knots
Range: 150 nautical miles
Radar: Raymarine
Type of fuel: Diesel
Crew: 3
Passengers: 10

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