NORFOLK, Va.—Coast Guard Station Little Creek, Va., accepts the fifi rst 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M), April 7, 2008. Coast Guard plans to acquire 180 RB-M, to replace legacy utility boats and improve readiness and responsiveness at boat stations nationwide. USCG photo by Petty Offiffi cer 2nd Class Christopher Evanson.
RB-M Project Marks First Delivery; Begins Operational Test & Evaluation Phase
May 1, 2008
On April 7, 2008, Coast Guard Station Little Creek, Va., took delivery of the fi rst Response Boat-Medium (RB-M): hull No. CG 45601. The delivery culminated six years' effort to bring this very capable asset to the field. The project now moves on to Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E), during which the Coast Guard will verify that the RB-M meets the operational effectiveness and suitability requirements of operational commanders.
"After personally observing the RB-M operate … I am convinced the Acquisition Directorate has delivered a tremendous tool to support Coast Guard mission execution," said Rear Adm. Gary T. Blore, the Coast Guard's Chief Acquisition Offi cer. "I believe Coast Guard boat forces will find the RB-M is a quantum leap forward in comparison to our existing small boats."
CG 45601 is the first of an anticipated 180 RB-Ms to be delivered over the next seven years. The second RB-M is scheduled for delivery to Station Cape Disappointment, Wash., in August 2008. Following at approximately one-month intervals, the Coast Guard plans subsequent deliveries to Key West, Fla.; Milwaukee; New York; and Port Aransas, Texas. These stations were chosen strategically for the range of missions that they execute and the different environmental conditions that they represent.
The RB-M replaces the aging 41-foot utility boats, which have been the workhorses of Coast Guard small boat stations for more than a quarter of a century. The 45-foot RB-M is a multi-mission boat that will operate in coastal zones, which include inshore and inland waterways and open ocean out to 50 nautical miles. It is a self-righting, all-aluminum boat with twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion. It is capable of speeds greater than 40 knots (46 miles per hour) and provides significantly improved maneuverability when compared to the boats it is replacing.
With a full cabin providing protection from the elements, a robust navigation system, heating and air conditioning, shock mitigating seats, and a communication system capable of communicating with other federal, state and local agencies, the RB-M provides greatly enhanced capability for Coast Guard small boat stations. Primary missions for the RB-M include search and rescue; ports, waterways, and coastal security; defense readiness; and marine environmental protection.
During the approximately 18 months of OT&E, the Coast Guard will evaluate the RB-M for its operational effectiveness and suitability through a variety of standard operations, as well as unique missions across a wide variety of environmental conditions. Following completion of OT&E, the project will seek authorization to proceed to full production. Once authorized, production will be accelerated to a rate of 30 RB-Ms per year by late 2010, continuing at that rate through delivery of all 180 boats, currently scheduled for 2015.
All RB-Ms currently in production (Nos. 45602–45605) are being built by Marinette Marine’s subcontractor, Kvichak Marine Industries, at Kent, Wash. To increase production during summer 2008, Marinette Marine plans to open a second production line in Wisconsin.
With delivery of the first RB-M, the project remains committed to its creed – "Honor boat crews, embrace technology, deliver value."
For more information: Response Boat-Medium program page