Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) (Stand S9-460) is to supply and support a new fleet of modular, multipurpose workboats for the UK Royal Navy (RN) under a £48 million Ministry of Defence (MoD) contract. To be known as the SEA class, the new modular and reconfigurable craft, ranging from 11m to 18m in length, will be derived from the 11m platform already in production for AEUK’s ARCIMS (Atlas Remote Capability Integrated Mission Suite) system.
The replacement of the RN’s existing workboats − known as Project Vahana − is being managed by the Commercially Supported Shipping Boats team in the MoD’s Defence and Equipment Support organisation. AEUK’s scope of supply covers the delivery of up to 38 workboats, plus an extended in-service support package running from 2018 to 2024. While three different size platform variants will be built − 11m, 15m and 18m − all versions will feature glass-reinforced plastic hulls, twin waterjet propulsion, common steering and control, common components and a modular design.
According to AEUK, this approach enables rapid reroling for specialised operational roles, including diving training, explosive ordnance disposal, officer training, passenger transport, arctic exploration, hydrographic survey and logistic resupply. It will also enable standardised training for operators and maintainers, and a reduction in logistic support requirements fleetwide.
AEUK, as system integrator, will assemble, integrate and test the boats at its Winfrith facility in Dorset, using subassemblies and equipment from a UK supply chain. Current planning assumes the manufacture of 13 11m workboats, 19 15m craft, and a single 18m boat. First delivery is planned for 2018, with the final boat due for acceptance in 2021.
The in-service support package to be provided by AEUK will include maintenance, spares provisioning, safety management and training. BMT Asset Performance and BMT Defence Services will integrate with the AEUK project delivery team to provide safety and environmental management and technical documentation: safety and environmental analysis of the SEA class craft will consider likely in-service hazards and their control from the design and functional safety perspective; the environmental analysis will consider the potential environmental risks and impacts posed by the platform.