WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The U.K.'s Ministry of Defense has awarded BAE Systems a $20.4 million contract to manufacture 6- new Pacific Rigid Inflatable Boats for the Royal Navy.
The Rigid Inflatable Boats, also known as RIBS, are capable of traveling at speeds up to 38 knots, and can be rapidly deployed from ship or shore platforms for anti-piracy, anti-smuggling, and counter-narcotics missions. Under the contract with the Ministry of Defense, BAE Systems will manufacture the next generation of Pacific 24 Mark-4 for Royal Navy ships.
"These 60 new RIBs provide a vital capability to the Royal Navy and are a clear benefit of the £178 billion this government is investing in new military equipment," Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said in a statement.
The Pacific 24, part of the fourth generation of Rigid Inflatable Ships, features a 370HP twin turbo diesel electronic engine with in-built self-diagnostic technology. Additional new features include shock-absorbing seats to reduce driver and crew fatigue.
"The new seats provide significantly greater performance but are much heavier, so we faced an additional challenge to reduce the weight on the boat elsewhere to compensate," Les Gregor, Product & Training Services Director at BAE Systems said. "Structural composites and a lighter engine gave us the biggest weight savings, whilst ensuring we maintained the necessary payload requirements."