2001 Maritime

Reserve your copy now!

Also available on

July 24, 2001

U.S. military to test Incat heavy cargo wavepiercer
50 m Incat wavepiercerHigh speed waterborne transportation of heavy military equipment and combat-ready troops will begin in October. Units of the U. S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard are to start evaluation and demonstration trials of a chartered 315 foot (96 m) Bollinger / Incat USA wave piercing catamaran.

Some of the goals are to quickly move over 450 tons of cargo and over 325 personnel, over 1,100 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in a sea state 3.

The Incat vessel must also launch and recover helicopters and rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) in sea state 3. Alternatively, a deadweight cargo capacity around 570 tons over 600 miles is also required.

The contract with optional extensions covers operations through Fiscal Year 2003 at a cost of $20.5 million. Tests to be conducted in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. littorals will be undergone by INCAT 050, built in 1998 and originally named DEVIL CAT. It recently operated in the rugged Cook Strait in New Zealand and the Bass Strait in Australia.

The test is a result of a strategic alliance announced in December 2000 by Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., Lockport, La.,and Incat Australia Pty. Ltd., known as Bollinger / Incat USA, LLC to market and build high-speed vessel (HSV) Incat designs in the United States.

The joint announcement was made by Chris Bollinger, executive vice-president of Bollinger and Nick Wells, project manager of Incat.

They described the tests as "jointly managed, multi-service programs intended to demonstrate to United States military services the potential for military utility and adaptation for military use of existing commercial technology. The success of the chartered HSV in demonstration of this potential will help to determine whether acquisition of this technology will be pursued and may contribute to future development of the sea services and Army needs."

INCAT 050 was selected by a Source Evaluation Board from a number of proposals as the vessel best suited to meet the overall requirements of the military.

According to Bollinger and Wells "it offers features beyond the threshold that provide enhanced value in determining military utility without compromising the performance of the vessel."

The HSV will be fitted with a U. S. Navy certified helicopter deck, a launch and recovery system for RIBs up to 39 feet (11.9 m), and vehicle ramps with heavy track vehicle capacity. The main vehicle deck has an unrestricted height of over 14 feet (4.3 m) and width of 75 feet (23 m). With a draft of less than 14 feet (4 m), it can access ports unavailable to conventional ships further boosting the boat’s operational flexibility and military mission options.

The charter was issued by TACOM (Tank - Automotive and Armament Command) but combines the services from the NWDC (Navy Warfare Development Command), U.S. Army Transportation Center, SOCOM (Special Operations Command-including NAVSPECWARCOM), CASCOM (Combined Arms Support Command), USMC Plans, Policy, and Operations (U.S. Marine Corps), ONR (Office of Naval Research), NAVSEA / NAVAIR, and the U. S. Coast Guard Deepwater project.

The 282-foot (86m) INCAT 045, HMAS Jervis Bay recently completed a two-year charter to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) for logistics operations between Australia and East Timor. It filled a deficit in the RAN’s operational capability in the Timor crisis, which gave rise for an immediate need to transport large numbers of troops and equipment quickly as part of the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). During the period, HMAS Jervis Bay completed 107 trips covering over 100,000 nautical miles, carried 20,000 passengers and 430 military vehicles and shipped over 5,600 tons. Traveling at 43 knots fully loaded and 48 knots lightship, HMAS Jervis Bay usually crossed the 430 nautical miles between Darwin and Dilli in under 11 hours. The vessel is said to have "stunned" U. S. Navy Seventh Fleet personnel during the peacekeeping operations.

INCAT 050 can carry up to 500 fully equipped troops with their vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, light armored vehicles and trucks. Its range is 1500 nautical miles, at speeds of more than 40 knots.

Power and speed is provided by the advanced Wave Piercing Catamaran design and four Caterpillar 3618 marine diesel engines developing 7,200 kW each @1,050 RPM driving four Lips 150D waterjets through four Reintjes VLJ6831 gearboxes.

INCAT 050 was built in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia from marine grade aluminum to the requirements of Det Norske Veritas High Speed Light Craft Rules and is in compliance with the IMO High Speed Craft code. If a construction contract results from the demonstration trials, the new vessel would be built at one of Bollinger’s 14 shipyards on or near the
U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico.