Special Operations: French RIBs



January6, 2007: The French navy has ordered twenty 9.5 meter (30 foot) rigid inflatable boats (RIB) for commando operations. RIB is a relatively new technology, developed in the 1960s. Inflatable sections are added to a rigid (aluminum or plastic composite) frame. Powered by a rather large engine, the boats are fast (over 60 kilometers an hour), shallow draft and more resistant to damage than standard boats. Light as well, the boats can be easily transported by aircraft. British commandos have been using such boats since they were first developed, and the success of that employment has led to other nations acquiring the boats for their amphibious commando operations. The British firm VT Halmatic, which specializes in RIBs, is supplying the French navy with this order.

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