On the strength of the experience gained with the RPB 20, sixty of which were built for around ten countries, Raidco Marine and the UFAST shipyard in Quimper have developed a new-generation 33-metre patrol boat to meet new needs.
Over the last few years, maritime rescue missions have evolved. The risks and illegal activity at sea are on the rise constantly: terrorism, all sorts of trafficking, illegal fishing and immigration. Faced with these issues and without suitable craft, States are often powerless to act or forced to use less suitable resources.
From fishing control to inspection and assault crews, modern patrol boats need to cover a wide variety of missions.
At the same time, navies and administrations interested in this type of vessel are increasingly faced with budgets that are too tight to acquire efficient combat units which are complex to deploy and costly to maintain. The RPB 33 was therefore designed as a new type of patrol boat offering innovative features and particularly suited to sea rescue missions.
This is a simple and robust vessel, able to conduct long patrols at sea. All the prevention and action resources required for the tasks of surveillance and policing at sea are on board: a 6.20 metre rapid intervention craft, hgih-tech communications equipment, modern navigational and identification aids are all part of the standard equipment. With a considerable range for a boat of this size, the RPB 33, according to Raidco Marine, is a economic solution for surveillance and securing maritime approaches.
Panoramic flybridge, intervention craft and self-defense resources
From a panoramic flybridge overlooking the superstructures, the crew has a rapid overview of the surroundings: piloting at sea, proper manoeuvring of the intervention craft, situation awareness and controlling resources are all ensured.
The RPB 33 comes with a 20 mm canon on the foredeck. It has a range of 2 km and while operated manually, can have electrical optical viewing aid. This equipment can fire warning shots and target shots where necessary, with explosives or blanks, in single shots or bursts. A small-calibre, very high-speed “minigun” can also be installed on board or on the intervention craft for close self-defense of the patrol boat or protection for the intervention crew. These weapons are both dissuasive and destructive.
The RPB 33 is also equipped with non-lethal resources: a high-power LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) loud-speaker or a laser spotlight connected to a stabilised video camera are equipment that have proven abilities to destabilise, disturb and prevent illegal activities. These systems are especially suited to discriminate, identify and dissuade possible or confirmed threats that the patrol boat may come across.
The first RPB 33, for the Senegalese navy, is being built in Brittany.