Ex-military superboat being reconfigured for commercial charter
A refit and repower currently being undertaken on a high speed military interceptor will broaden its capabilities for a variety of technology demonstration and research purposes.
Ambex Ltd of Sussex, UK, a well-known military systems integrator, purchased the unusual 50ft composite construction vessel from an undisclosed military source and intend to reconfigure and re-power her for charter with MCA coding.
According to Ambex, potential uses for the refitted platform, that it is estimated will be capable of 50 knots, could range from yacht racing chase boat and military exercise support to a platform for unmanned and autonomous technology R&D.
The boat has a large, flat rear deck area suitable for a variety of payloads, making it highly unusual among such high speed vessels, and its wave piercing hull form provides relatively low vertical accelerations; a combination that could also make the vessel very appealing as a stable drone launch and recovery platform.
The vessel was one of around 20 VSV (Very Slender Vessel) boats designed by Paragon Mann, some built by Halmatic in the UK, others by Lurssen in Germany, many of which have seen service in Southeast Asia.
Ambex are replacing the original Seatek diesels with a pair of Caterpillar C7.1s, each pushing 507hp through ZF gearboxes to France Helices surface drives.
The formerly spartan, military spec interior will be fitted out with berths for a crew of three, with heads and a small galley area. Seven SHOX shock mitigation seats will ensure that personnel will be able to endure the loads of such high speed travel, and Ambex has also invested in a full suite of Simrad navigation and communication equipment to bring the high speed navigation capabilities right up to modern standards.
The vessel will be available for charter from Q3 2020, and will be based at Portsmouth Harbour.
By Jake Frith
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