The new ocean-capable patrol vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy (see separate post below for more details) will have a revolutionary stern launch and recovery system for superfast rigid-hull interceptor boats, senior program officials said today at the IQPC-organized OPV Conference in Rotterdam.
Each of the four new patrol ships (to be delivered between late-2010 and late-2012) will be equipped with two of these 40-ft. high-speed craft.
Stern view of OPV model with interceptor boat on slipway, seen at Marin (see text).
One of these will be launched and recovered in traditional fashion using davits on the side of the ship.
But the second interceptor craft will be placed in a special slipway built into the stern of the 3,750-ton ships.
The slipway will feature rails to guide the boat into and out of the water, a water management system and a specially-shaped opening to allow space for the interceptor boat's stern thruster.
Stern ramp launch and recovery testing at Marin.
According to Professor J.J. Hopman, one of the main naval architects behind the Dutch OPV design, the RNLN has chosen this solution to be able to launch and recover the craft in very rough seas (up to and including Sea State 5).
"With one boat on the stern slipway and the other boat in the davits, we will almost always be able to launch and recover at least one of the craft, and we also have the option to launch both simultaneously in case we need to have them in the water real fast," the professor told the conference today.Stern ramp launch and recovery testing at Marin.
Launch and recovery testing has been performed in May at Marin, the Maritime Institute of the Netherlands which is a leading research lab in this field, he adds.
At the conference, the stern slipway launch and recovery system attracted a lot of interest, most notably from representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Recently, Ares has been able to take stills of video footage of these trials which can be seen here for the first time.
The interceptor boat model used by Marin for the stern launch and recovery trials. Photos: Joris Janssen Lok/Marin video