PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Coast Guard's newest multi-mission asset, the 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M), makes its debut at Coast Guard Station Little Creek Va., today.
The RB-M was delivered by Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) and represents the first of a planned 180 RB-Ms scheduled for delivery over the next six years. 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 RB-M is a multi-mission boat that will operate in coastal zones which include inshore and inland waterways and open ocean out to 50-nautical-miles. The RB-M is a self-righting, 45-foot all-aluminum boat with twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion. It is capable of speeds in excess of 46 miles per hour and provides significantly improved maneuverability when compared to boats it is replacing.
With 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, the RB-M provides greatly enhanced capability for Coast Guard small boat stations. Primary missions for the RB-M include Search and Rescue; Ports, Waterways, and Coastal Security; Defense Readiness; and Marine Environmental Protection.
"After personally observing the RB-M operate earlier last week, I am convinced the Acquisition Directorate has delivered a tremendous tool to support Coast Guard mission execution," said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, Coast Guard Chief Acquisition Officer. "I believe Coast Guard boat forces will find the RB-M is a quantum leap forward in comparison to our existing small boats."
The RB-M will replace the aging 41' Utility Boats, which have been the workhorse of Coast Guard small boat stations for more than a quarter of a century. On June 21, 2006, the Coast Guard awarded a contract for up to a maximum of 250 RB-Ms to Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) of Marinette, Wisc. RB-Ms are being built by Kvichak Marine (a subcontractor of MMC) in Kent, Wash. and delivered at a rate of approximately one per month starting in August 2008. To increase production MMC 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.