The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces is using what appears to be the 11 m Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC) made by the British company Holyhead Marine, it was revealed during its Union Fortress 6 public demonstration.
Held on the coast of Ras al-Khaimah on 1 November, the demonstration featured a wide variety of the UAE's air and land platforms, but also a few maritime assets, including the previously unseen raiding craft and a swimmer delivery vehicle that emerged from the water to be used as a sniper platform by its two-man crew.
The 11 m ORC is an enlarged version of the 9 m ORC in service with the UK's Royal Marine Commandos. Holyhead Marine says the baseline craft can be easily reconfigured into two versions: the Troop Carrier Variant that can accommodate 12 soldiers and two crew and the Fire Support Platform with four machine gun mounts and higher armour, which protects against 7.62×39 mm bullets at 20 m.
An example of the latter seemed to feature in Union Fortress 6, providing covering fire as rigid hulled inflatable boats and helicopters landed soldiers on the beach to fight insurgents. A landing ship then came in to deploy BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, while a motorised pontoon was used to land Leclerc tanks.
Holyhead Marine declined to respond to requests for comment on the apparent sale to the UAE.
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