Australian Army’s future watercraft to be built locally

Photo: Tropical Reef Shipyard

Cairns-based builders Tropical Reef Shipyard and BME NQ will collaborate on the supply of new multi-mission watercraft for the Australian Army.

Designed by Chris Tucker Marine Design in compliance to NSCV 2C rules, the boats will each have an LOA of 7.75 metres, a beam of 2.45 metres, a draught of 0.4 metres, a lightship displacement of 2,135 kilograms, and seating for two operators and six other personnel.

The boats will each feature interchangeable mission-specific payload modules, shock-mitigating seats, two 220-litre fuel tanks, and two Mercury SeaPro 111kW outboard engines that will ensure an operating range of over 200 nautical miles.

Sensors fitted to the seats and hull will inform the crew when heavy weather conditions are having an adverse effect on the impact and vibration being experienced by the occupants. This will then allow the crew to make speed and maneouvring adjustments to ensure the safety of all on board.

On land, the watercraft may be towed to a deployment site. Advanced materials and manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing will ensure the vessels are durable yet lightweight.

The boats’ electrical system will incorporate a control network and will be able to accept inputs from the electronic array fitted to the watercraft. Through this system, either crewmember can control all the appliances from where they are seated.

The electrical system will also mean less need for wiring, therefore further reducing vessel displacement.

The Great Barrier Reef International Maritime College and Mercury University Merctech will provide training support for the army personnel who will eventually operate the watercraft.

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