U.S. Army Orders Fireboat from Gladding-Hearn

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Photo courtesy Gladding-Hearn

On the heels of a 12-boat order for the U.S. Navy, Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, has received an order from the U.S. Army for a new high-speed fireboat. Delivery is scheduled for 2011. The all-aluminum vessel, designed jointly by the Somerset, Mass., shipyard and C. Raymond Hunt Associates, measures 75.8 ft overall, with a 20.6-ft beam and a shallow 4.2-ft draft. Designed to meet the Army’s primary mission of fire protection for its munitions terminal in Sunny Point, North Carolina, the vessel will also aid local cities and towns. Its pilot boat pedigree offers additional capacity in offshore fire and rescue operations.

Twin Caterpillar C-32 diesel engines, each producing 1,600 Bhp at 2,300 rpm, will turn a pair of Hamilton HM-651 waterjets through Twin Disc MGX-6599 SC gear boxes. The fireboat will have a top speed of 25 knots. 

Hamilton Jet’s Marine Electronic Control System (MECS) will control the waterjets, engines and gears at the wheelhouse console and an exterior control station on the aft deck. While the jets allow for operating in shallow water, the three-access joystick control “will give the boat superior maneuverability in close quarters,” explained Peter Duclos, the shipyard president. 

The vessel’s fire-fighting system consists of two pumps, each powered by a dedicated Caterpillar C-9, 503 Bhp diesel engine. Separating the pumps from the main engines maintains the boat’s full firefighting capacity as well as its full propulsion in maneuvering around a moving ship, while still overcoming the fire monitor reaction forces.

At peak output, the pumps will supply 7,500 gpm of water at 150 psi to the five rotating monitors and eight hydrants on deck. Two manually-operated monitors, each discharging 1,250 gpm, will be installed on the foredeck, along with a reel of 200 feet of rigid forestry hose. Two 2,500 gpm manual monitors will be mounted on the aft deck. A 5,000 gpm monitor atop the pilothouse will be remotely operated from helm station and viewed through two roof windows. For petro-chemical fires, a 1,200 gpm foam system, with two 200 gal. tanks of foam concentrate, will supply the monitors and the hose outlets on the foredeck as well.

A Palfinger knuckle-boom crane will be installed aft of the pilothouse on the bridge deck. Recessed steps, built into the transom, will lead to a rescue platform.

The raised pilothouse on a flush deck provides 360 degree visibility. The main deck salon, with a wide door from the aft deck, will double as an office and Advanced Life-Support medical station. Below the main deck are a forecastle with a galley and dinette, head, separate shower, and four berths. An 86,000 Btu seawater-cooled air conditioning system will cool the vessel’s interior.

For more information, contact Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding, Duclos Corporation, PO Box 300, Somerset, MA 02726.

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