Marines: Zodiac Killers


June 22, 2011: The French navy has ordered twenty 9.3 meter (28.8 foot) Zodiac rigid inflatable boats (RIB) for commando operations and police patrols. RIB is a relatively new technology, developed in the 1960s. Inflatable sections are added to a rigid (aluminum or plastic composite) frame. Powered by two outboard engines, these boats are fast (over 70 kilometers an hour), shallow draft and more resistant to damage than standard boats. Light as well, the boats can be easily transported by aircraft. France is also buying four air delivery kits.

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. Five years ago, France ordered twenty similar boats from the British firm VT Halmatic, but these did not pass testing, and the order was cancelled. Existing French RIB boats are getting old, and the Zodiacs will arrive just in time (2012-15).





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