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Royal New Zealand Navy issues RFI to replace RHIBs

Babcock NZ has issued a request for information (RFI) on behalf of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) for the replacement of its rigid-hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).

The document, released on 21 May, indicated that the Royal New Zealand Navy's (RNZN's) existing inventory of nine Zodiac Hurricane and 26 Zodiac Milpro J3 RHIBs will need replacing with a single model.

A spokesperson from the NZDF told Janes , β€œThe Hurricanes are beyond their original intended service life and the J3s are approaching theirs.”

The spokesperson added, β€œWe are looking at opportunities to replace these with approximately 28–34 RHIBs over the next four years. Having one type of vessel offers the ability to rationalise the pool size.”

According to the RFI the RHIBs must have a length of 7.3–7.8 m, a beam of 2.5–2.8 m, and a fully laden weight of less than 3,350 kg but not exceeding 3,900 kg.

This corresponds with the space envelope on the RNZN's major platforms and the maximum weight the cranes and davits that perform launch and recovery operations can sustain while also allowing for growth.

The RHIBs must be capable of operating from ship-to-shore in conditions up to Sea State 5 and Sea State 6 in emergencies.

Proposed craft should have removable seating for two crew and six to eight passengers (85 kg each), or five seated (wearing immersion suits and lifejackets) with a stretcher for a casualty. In an emergency the RHIBs need to have the capacity for embarking either 20 personnel or 12 fully kitted soldiers (120 kg each).

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