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New RHIBS for Security Forces Underway Training

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120809-14

By Darryl Orrell, Center for Security Forces Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- The Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR) announces Aug. 9 the procurement of four new rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs), as part of its continuing effort to provide high-value waterborne security training to the fleet.

At 36-feet-long and powered by two twin inboard diesel engines with water jets, these are the same RHIBs employed on most Navy amphibious ships.

While the Navy operates a wide-array of small craft, the versatility of these new boats makes them the ideal to teach basic small boat tactics and operations.

"This is a smarter way to train because students attending the course often show up with mixed qualifications on various types of boats," said Steve Knapton, waterborne security curriculum model manager. "We give students one-on-one training to get them comfortable with operating these boats in both open and confined waterways."

Knapton went on to state that tactical coxswain training requirements are based on tactics, techniques, and procedures that can be applied to all craft, as opposed to only one specific type of craft. The new boats are universal enough to apply to all the different small craft in the fleet.

The new boats are made of heavy-duty fiberglass from all organic materials and can carry up to 26 people or a maximum load of 22,000 pounds. They carry up to 265 gallons of fuel and can reach speeds of up to 45 knots or about 52 miles per hour.

"There are many advantages to having these new boats - one being they are new," said Knapton. "The lifecycle of our equipment is normally much shorter than that of their fleet counterparts simply because of the induced training environment operational tempo."

The new boats will be used in support of the new ARG/MEU VBSS boat crew training requirement and serve as backup for the Navy's Level II Coxswain Operations and Tactics Course during times of extended maintenance, repair or scheduled overhaul. The Level II Coxswain Operations and Tactics Course trains qualified coxswains in the advanced skills necessary to operate high-speed security boats.

"In time, the plan is to employ these boats in all CENSECFOR underway training and working towards standardizing our inventory of Training platforms. This is a long process, but in the long term it will reduce operating costs without losing the quality of training being delivered," said Knapton.

Knapton acknowledged that the longevity of these new boats is greatly dependent upon those behind the training scene. People who not only keep the boats in top operating condition, but also the boat equipment, electronics, personal protective equipment, and so on. All of which is necessary to maintain top safety and the highest quality of training to arm Sailors for success in the fleet.

"Many people comment on the excellent condition of all our boats even the oldest ones of about 10-years still in our inventory. We definitely have hard working people at the Learning Site's boat maintenance and repair shop," said Knapton.

Learning Site Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va. is one of 14 training locations within the Center for Security Forces domain. All of which provides specialized training to more than 22,000 students each year around the world.

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