Viking Fast Craft Solutions developed a conceptual design of the USCG’s RB-M in early 2002 based on the requirements provided in the “Sources Sought Notice” (SSN) issued by the US Coast Guard for a Response Boat-Medium. The detail design of this initial concept was completed for the construction of the Test Boat. This craft demonstrated the effectiveness of the advanced HysuCat technology to achieve the high speed, range and maneuvering performance required while providing excellent sea-keeping performance so that the crew could utilize the full range of performance in safety and comfort.

Viking FCS proved its’ capability in Phase I to quickly and effectively design the RB-M with functional and safe arrangement of spaces and craft systems which met and in many cases exceeded the Coast Guard’s requirements and expectations. This is demonstrated by the incorporation of several innovative design elements developed by Viking FCS for the Test Boat into the RB-M specifications. These include the Vector joystick (no steering wheel) control system and the wireless crew communications system.

In 2003, Ocean Technical Services, Inc, Otech,  was awarded a contract by the US Coast Guard for the design, construction and support of the Viking Fast Craft Solutions RB-M Test Boat. Otech and Viking FCS met this challenge completing a the detail design in three months and taking only four months to construct and deliver the RB-M Test Boat. The boat was delivered to Portsmouth, VA and accepted on schedule six months after contract award. The subsequent Performance and Mission Effectiveness Testing did not identify any critical deficiencies but did demonstrate the excellent performance and capabilities of the design.

The RB-M craft requirements represent a large leap in capability over the US Coast Guards’s existing 41’ UTB and any other small boat currently in the USCG fleet. Indeed, there are very few craft of this size in existence that can cruise at 30 knots and reach top speeds in excess of 40 knots with an operational envelope reaching 8-foot waves and 30 knot winds. Most existing craft with this performance also have the very undesirable characteristics of violent motions and high shock accelerations harming the crew and craft. In addition these craft typically require very high propulsion power with associated high fuel and maintenance costs. Meeting the RB-M craft performance requirements effectively and efficiently calls for a significant advance in high-speed craft hull form and propulsion technology beyond the traditional deep-V hull developed in the 1940’s.

The HysuCraft foil supported catamaran hull form and the very high efficiency and reliability of the propulsion system combine to exceed top speed, range and towing requirements while offering greatly reduced procurement, maintenance, fuel and overall life-cycle costs. The power required for top and cruise speed of the proposed foil supported RB-M is approximately 60% of that required for a monohull craft designed to the same requirements. This results in a savings of approximately 40% in fuel, lube oil and maintenance costs for the propulsion system.

In addition, the extraordinary sea-keeping, ride quality and maneuverability of this hull form and propulsion system provides increased safety to the crew and craft while operating in a hostile offshore environment. The low accelerations and craft motions demonstrated and measured on the Test Boat reduce the physiological damage to the crew members from repeated shock loading to the body or impacts from being thrown against various areas of the craft. This will reduce medical, lost time and disability costs experienced by RB-M crews.

The lower accelerations and motions will also place less stress, wear and tear on the hull structure and equipment of the RB-M. This will reduce damage and fatigue from extreme operating conditions and lower the number of system failures requiring repair or replacement.

This design with slight modifications tailored to specific operator needs can serve as a search and rescue craft, law enforcement craft, wind farm service craft and many other missions.