High speed waterborne transport of heavy military equipment and combat-ready troops will begin in October when elements of the U. S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard initiate evaluation and demonstration trials of a chartered 315 foot (96M) Bollinger-Incat USA Wave Piercing Catamaran. Some of the goals are to quickly move over 450 tons of cargo and over 325 personnel, over 1100 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots in asea state 3. The Incat vessel must also launch and recover helicopters and rigid inflatable boats (RIB) in sea state 3. Alternatively, a deadweight cargo capacity around 570 tons over 600 miles is also required.
The contract with optional extensions covers operations through Fiscal Year 2003 at a cost of US$20.5 million. Tests to be conducted in the Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. littorals will be undergone by INCAT 050, built in 1998 and originally named DEVIL CAT. It recently operated in the rugged Cook Strait in New Zealand andthe Bass Strait in Australia.
INCAT 050 was selected by a Source Evaluation Board from a number of proposals as the vessel best suited to meet the overall requirements of the military. The vessel will be fitted with a U. S. Navy certified helicopter deck, a launch and recovery system for RIBs up to 39 feet (11.9M), and vehicle ramps with heavy track vehicle capacity. The main vehicle deck has an unrestricted height of over 14 feet (4.3m) and width of 75 feet (23m). With a draft of less than 14 feet (4m), it can access ports unavailable to conventional ships further boosting the boat’s operational flexibility and military mission options.
INCAT 050 can carry up to 500 fully equipped troops with their vehicles, including armored personnel carriers, light armored vehicles and trucks. Its range is 1500 nautical miles, at speeds of more than 40 knots. Power and speed is provided by the advanced Wave Piercing Catamaran design and four Caterpillar 3618 marine diesel engines developing 7200kW each @1050 RPM driving four Lips 150D waterjets through four Reintjes VLJ6831 gearboxes.