RIVGRU 1 Tests Its First RCB Boat

Monday, December 29, 2008

Riverine Group 1 is testing its first Riverine Command Boat, which gives Riverine squadrons the ability to travel not only in rivers, but also out to bays and coastal regions, expanding the capabilities of command and control and the Riverine squadrons' maritime security reach.

RCB-1, which the command received in October, has a primary mission of improving maritime security. With its versatility, the boat offers the ability for use as a primary boat in combat missions, patrolling missions, as a combat information center and can even be configured as an ambulance boat. It is designed to land on a variety of shorelines, including solid rock, to drop off and extract personnel from any area.

"The draft and basic hull construction allows the craft to operate effectively in environments from open seas to shallow river waters," said Chief Engineman (SW) Michael Flanagan RCB engineer, "That means we are capable of being launched from shore or a ship and operating in almost any environment that our area commander requires. Versatility is the key word."

The normal crew for the RCB is three to five personnel, and the crew compartment holds up to 15.

While this is the first of six RCBs, mission requirements will determine how many RCBs each squadron will have.

"The RCB will be used for command and control of Riverine forces in the river deltas and bays where brown water interfaces with blue water operations," said Cmdr. Raul Gandara, chief staff officer for RIVGRU 1.

The RCB is equipped with a remote operated small arms mount on which a variety of machine guns can be mounted. The ROSAM allows for a safer mission by keeping Sailors inside the boat while operating the weapon. It also has an automatic target locking capability, which allows easier and more accurate operation during high seas and high speed operations. Several universal mounts topside also allow Riverine squadrons to mount any of type of manned machine gun or grenade launcher needed for the mission.

"The Navy saw other countries use their version of the RCB, and saw that the boat can do anything you need; it can be refueled at sea, giving it the capability for use on long-range missions," said Engineman 1st Class (EXW/SW) Christian Jimenez, RCB coxswain.

The cockpit is constructed with armor plating around the boat, protecting the crew members and engine compartment during passage through harsh areas. The armor protects against small arms fire and fragments from nearby explosions.

The boat also protects against nuclear, chemical and biological agents because the cabin and cockpit can be pressurized when entering a contaminated area. There is a facility inside the compartment in case of decontamination being needed.

"On a general scale coming straight from the manufacturer," said Jimenez, "we can make this boat into anything we want, which is another great thing about the RCB."

(Source: Navy News Service)

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