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Royal Marines receive revamped raiding craft

The Royal Marines Commando Raiding Craft are now operational. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Marines has inducted the first batch of revamped raiding craft designed for use on coastal commando raids.

The vessels, which have been redesignated as Commando Raiding Craft (CRC), are an upgraded version of the service's in-service Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC). It is a multi-purpose craft that can be reconfigured, replacing the troop carrying and fire support variants.

Announcing the milestone, the Royal Navy (RN) said the in-service fleet of ORCs was ageing and had limited range and capacity. The modernisation effort has resulted in vessels that are faster, with better range and more manoeuvrability.

As part of the modernisation effort, the vessels have been repainted grey to help with concealment; new engines have been installed, increasing the range to more than 200 n miles and the speed to a maximum of 40 kt; and the operator console position has been moved from aft to forward for improved manoeuvrability. Other improvements include new cooling systems, a new communications and navigation suite, a new mast, revised trim for better stability, three universal weapons mounts (for 12.7 mm or 7.62 mm machine guns or 40 mm grenade launchers), and space to embark small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), carry payloads, or store inshore raiding craft to deploy on landings as required.

The CRCs are operated by 47 Commando's 539 Raiding Squadron and the Littoral Response Group (South) (LRG(S)) task force in the Mediterranean. The first deployment of the modernised craft took place in late 2023 in the Eastern Mediterranean on the RN's Bay-class landing ship dock RFA Lyme Bay.

The LRG(S) task group – centred on 40 Commando and support ships RFA Lyme Bay

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