VESSEL REVIEW | Kuursi – Australian Army watercraft to support border protection operations

VESSEL REVIEW | Kuursi – Australian Army watercraft to support border protection operations

Photo: Australian Department of Defence

The Australian Army has christened a new specialised littoral watercraft that will be deployed at Far North Queensland’s Thursday Island by the army reserve’s 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment.

The 12.5-metre regional support craft (RSC) has been named Kuursi, which means “hammerhead shark” in the indigenous Kala Lagaw Ya language of the Western Torres Strait Islands. It was supplied to the Australian Defence Force by The Whiskey Project Group formed by boat builder Yamba Welding and Engineering (YWE) of New South Wales and New Zealand-based naval architecture firm Naiad Design. The army’s newest watercraft is a sister boat to a series of four Naiad 12.5-metre rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) that were delivered by YWE to the Australian Border Force in 2019.

The RSC is capable of operations in conditions of up to Sea State five. It will be used to support border protection missions in Far North Queensland in an area of operations that encompasses the Torres Strait and Cape York. Other missions will include search and rescue (SAR), recovery, casualty evacuation, stores and equipment transfer, anti-smuggling, environmental protection, community engagement, and surveillance.

Photo: Australian Department of Defence

As with other RIBs built by YWE, Kuursi incorporates a deep-V hull with a fine entry “knuckle” bow to track cleanly through waves, hence ensuring a smoother ride even in coastal and offshore conditions. Shock-mitigating seats are available to help reduce crew fatigue.

The vessel’s electronics include a Furuno radar and a Teledyne FLIR rotating thermal camera. Power is provided by three Cox CXO300 V8 diesel outboard engines that each produce 223 kW. Air conditioning for the cabin is supplied by two Houghton roof-mounted units.

There is also stern space for a small inflatable outboard-equipped tender from Mercury Marine to allow the crew to reach near-shore waters that are inaccessible for the larger RSC.

Other features include tow posts and a wrap-around protection bar for the three outboards.

Photo: Australian Army

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Type of vessel: Army regional support craft
Flag: Australia
Owner: Australian Army
Designer: Naiad Design, New Zealand
Builder: Yamba Welding and Engineering, Australia
Length overall: 12.5 metres
Main engines: 3 x Cox CXO300 outboards, each 223 kW
Radar: Furuno
Night vision: Teledyne FLIR
Other equipment installed: 2 x Houghton AC
Tender: Mercury Marine RIB
Type of fuel: Diesel
Operational area: Far North Queensland, Australia

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