December 5, 2003
Kvichak/Marinette deliver RB-M prototypeKvichak Marine Industries, Seattle, Wash., recently delivered a 45 ft Response Boat--Medium (RB-M) prototype to the United States Coast Guard.
Kvichak teamed with Marinette Marine Corporation, a member of the Manitowoc Marine Group, in a competitive bid process for the RB-M. Marinette serves as the prime contractor and program manager of the prototype project and Kvichak as the builder. Two other companies were also chosen to construct prototypes. All three vessels are currently undergoing extensive sea trials and evaluations, at the USCG base in Portsmouth, Va. The review process will last for two to three months.
On completion of testing, the Coast Guard intends to award a contract to one company for a fleet of approximately 180 RB-M vessels to replace its aging fleet of 41 ft utility boats.
The six-year contract is expected to be awarded in 2004. If chosen for the contract, Kvichak and Marinette will share the vessel construction over the six-year construction time.
Power for the Kvichak/Marinette boat is provided by twin Detroit Diesel 60 series engines rated at 825 BHP each. Kamewa FF375S waterjets were chosen as the propulsors. This combination allows for excellent maneuverability and a top speed exceeding 45 knots.
The Kvichak/Marinette prototype is the only vessel on trials that is self-righting in all conditions.
The vessel also uses an innovative cruise generator, the AuraGen Viper manufactured by Aura Systems, to provide AC/DC power. Each of the AuraGens driven by the twin Detroit Diesels can provide 8 kW of power from engine idle to full rpm, continuously, with no scheduled maintenance. The units are significantly more compact and lighter than standard generator/inverter/alternator combinations.
The RB-M will be multi-mission capable and primary missions will be homeland security and search-and-rescue. "Kvichak and Marinette have offered a technologically advanced vessel for evaluation, which we feel offers the best value." said Craig Miller of Kvichak.