Coast Guard Takes Delivery of First of 180 New Response Boat Mediums

Coast Guard Takes Delivery of First of 180 New Response Boat Mediums

April 8, 2008

By Geoff Fein

The Coast Guard yesterday unveiled its new 45-foot Response Boat Medium (RB-M), the eventual replacement for the service’s 25-year-old Utility Boat (UT-B).

The Coast Guard has 30 of the new RB-Ms under contract with the potential to buy as many as 250, according to the Coast Guard.

The current long-term multi-year contract calls for the Coast Guard to buy 180 RB-Ms over the next six years, the service added.

On June 21, 2006 Wisconsin-based Marinette Marine (MTW) was awarded a contract to build the new RB-M. Additionally, Washington state-based Kvichak Marine Industries, will be building the boats on the West Coast as a subcontractor to Marinette Marine.

The contract calls for a delivery rate of approximately one per month starting in August 2008, according to the Coast Guard. To increase production, Marinette Marine has initiated the opening of a second production facility in Wisconsin. When in full production, anticipated for late 2010, deliveries will be at a rate of 30 boats per year, the Coast Guard said.

"The unit cost per boat is about $2 million per copy, excluding other costs associated with logistics, training, and project management costs," Cmdr. Brendan McPherson, a Coast Guard spokesman, told Defense Daily Monday.

The first boat, RB-M 45601, began operational testing and evaluation (OT&E) yesterday at Coast Guard Station Little Creek, Va., the Coast Guard said. OT&E will continue for 12 months after the sixth RB-M is delivered in January 2009, according to the Coast Guard.

"The Coast Guard selected Station Little Creek to receive the first RB-M based on the wide range of missions performed by the station and the high operational tempo in the Portsmouth, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach area. Future RB-M deliveries will go to a variety of Coast Guard Stations based on their unique mission requirements that provide opportunities to evaluate the boats’ performance across the full spectrum of Coast Guard small boat operations," the Coast Guard said.

Planned delivery dates for the next five stations to receive RB-Ms are: Coast Guard Station Cape Disappointment, Wash., August 2008; Coast Guard Station Key West, Fla., September 2008; Coast Guard Station Milwaukee, Wis., October 2008; Coast Guard Station New York, N.Y., November 2008; and Coast Guard Station Port Aransas, Texas, January 2009.

The new all-aluminum 45-foot boat will be equipped with water jet propulsion instead of propellers and personnel will use a joy stick instead of a wheel for steering. It is capable of speeds in excess of 46 miles per hour and provides significantly improved maneuverability when compared to boats it is replacing, according to the Coast Guard.

Additionally, the RB-M will have a full cabin providing protection from the elements, a robust navigation system, heating and air conditioning, shock mitigating seats, and a communication system capable of communicating with other federal, state and local agencies, according to the Coast Guard.

Primary missions for the RB-M include search and rescue; ports, waterways, and coastal security; defense readiness; and marine environmental protection.