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Rigid-hull Inflatable Boat (RIB)

Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat (NSW RIB) performs short-range insertion and extraction of SOF; SOF coastal resupply; and coastal surveillance missions. The rugged, seaworthy, versatile 36-foot RIB has a 200 nautical miles range at 32 knots, with a 45 knot top speed. It can carry eight passengers or 3,200 lbs payload, and is C-130 transportable.

The NSW RIB is a high-speed, high-buoyancy all weather boat specifically designed to transport a fully equipped team of eight Navy SEALs and three crew members on short-range insertion and extraction missions. The NSW RIB program provides a short-range surface mobility platform for SOF insertion and extraction and replaced the Special Warfare Craft (Light), or SEAFOX, and other RIBs which have ended service life. The program supports the procurement of RIBs, trailers, deployment packages, outfitting, and prime movers.

By 1995 the Special Operations Command (SOC) found the 10 meter Interceptor Fastboats RIB design, on which initial developmental efforts were focused, unsatisfactory and adopted a new strategy for development of a RIB to meet Special Operations Forces requirements.

In early summer of 1997, the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) awarded a contract to USMI to manufacture the NSW RIB. USMI has been the only source of the NSW RIB since that time.

Production commenced June 1997, with 70 NSW RIBs funded. The first delivery was November 1997 with an IOC of January 1998. In FY 2001 the program procured NSW RIBs with deployment packages. Also funded government furnished equipment and prime movers. Production was scheduled for FY 1998-2003 by the contractor, U.S. Marine, Inc.; New Orleans, Louisiana.

Early testing was done with close teamwork between OPTEVFOR and the combat users to maximize the perspectives of each. Prototypes from competing vendors were developed and tested all the way to acceptance trials and final source selection. The early testing with contractor prototypes was so operational in nature that the OT&E was completed in the source-selection phase before a production contract was let. The testing was so operationally realistic that normal classical TECHEVAL and OPEVAL were canceled entirely. The NSW RIB testing covered 10,000 nautical miles, in hot and cold, rough and calm extremes, with five SEAL insertion missions, and C-130, C-141, and C-5 flight tests. There were no deficiencies and all operational issues were satisfied.

A highly successful acquisition program, the NSW RIB was delivered to the combat teams in just over two years from program initiation to first unit equipped. The program strategy used commercial boat building experience and practices. The operational requirements of the NSW RIB were all met or exceeded during the combined DT/OT. Top speed exceeded objective by 15 percent (46 kts demonstrated, 40 kts objective); cruise speed exceeded objective by 3 percent (33 kts demonstrated, 32 kts objective); range exceeded objective by 15 percent (200 nm demonstrated, 175 objective); reliability was slightly better (91 percent demonstrated, 90 percent required); and availability exceeded objective by 9 percent (99 percent demonstrated, 90 percent objective).

While it is too early to make final logistical and O&M comparisons of the NSW RIB to the existing boats, reliability has been much better than for the older craft. This leads SOCOM to expect the overall parts and maintenance costs to be lower than for the existing craft. O&M training is performed the same as with the older craft. Preventive maintenance actions are comparable to the older units. The IOC units are exhibiting simplified support and cheaper parts costs due to the COTS components in engines and propulsion systems. Overall the Navy and SOCOM are satisfied enough with the program to be actively considering a reduction of the deployment logistical support kit size for the craft.

The RIB has a projected 5-year service life. In April 2004 The Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City announced plans to issue a sole source contract to United States Marine Incorporated (USMI) to provide total refurbishment of Naval Special Warfare (NSW) 11 meter Rigid Inflatable Boats (RIB). The contract was for one year with two options of one year each. Only USMI can perform the refurbishments. This acquisition provides for the total refurbishment of major systems as well as the incorporation of Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) to the NSW 11 meter RIBs.

As the sole developer and original equipment manufacturer (OEM), USMI is the only source with sufficient in-depth knowledge of the NSW RIB that could conceivably implement the refurbishment. Additionally, the NSW RIB was procured as a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) item. As a COTS item, the Government did not procure a full technical data package (TDP) with the hardware at that time. The lack of a TDP makes the refurbishment of the NSW RIB by a contractor other than the OEM extremely difficult. Use of another company to conduct the refurbishment may introduce new, or change existing parameters that may induce unacceptable performance characteristics into the NSW RIB. Furthermore there is a high risk that changes/deviations could be introduced into the NSW RIB that would greatly reduce its operating capabilities, cent er of gravity, weight, shock and vibration requirements, and airdrop capabilities. Any changes in any of these parameters would greatly reduce the NSW RIB's ability to meet mission requirements.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 12:51:40 ZULU