For all those boys in blue who haven't seen much on the newest piece of hardware the Coast Guard is acquiring, I have some good news for you. The Response Boat - Medium project has been in full swing for some time now, but news of the status has been hard to come by. The Deepwater project office...ahem the "Coast Guard Acquisitions Directorate" has posted a new site lauding the capabilities of this new boat, and as a Boat Monkey, I have to say...Me Likey! The general specifications:
Characteristics of the 45' RB-M
|Length, Overall||44ft 10.5in|
|Beam, Overall||14ft 7.75in|
|Operational Draft |
|Navigational Clearance|| 13ft 1in (max) lowered |
20ft 8.25in (max) raised
|Top Speed||42.5 knots|
|Cruise Speed||30 knots (calm water)|
|Range Full Load Condition at 30 kts||250 nautical miles w/ 10% fuel reserve|
|Towing Capacity |
(LT - Displacement)
|100 long tons|
|Weight in Hoisting Condition||40,000 lbs (max)|
I've served on a lot of different boats and ships in our fair Service, but I have never seen anything as mean and capable as this boat. Wait, let me take a step back. I do have to tip my hat to the 47' MLB and it's predecessors (52', 44', 36', etc). The 47' MLB is an outstanding platform and well-suited to the environment it is designed to accommodate. The CG also has a pretty solid reputation for building solid vessels (the 210' Reliance Class is a good example). Considering the typical pitfalls of how the Coast Guard buys equipment that it does not build on its own (and the current Deepwater doo doo not withstanding), this is a very well-constructed boat. Without getting behind the helm and actually test-driving it, I can't say that it will live up to the expectations, but it does look promising.
The Acquisition Directorate's web site can be found here, and the 3-D walk-through can be seen here.