RHIB redesign wins award from Navy ManTech

Structural Composites, Lockheed Martin, Brunswick, Zodiac Boats and SCRA Research have been awarded The Composites Consortium's Achievement Award for the use of composites in a U.S. Navy boat.

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Structural Composites (Melbourne, Fla., USA) reported on April 17 that it, Lockheed Martin, Brunswick Corp. (Lake Forest, Ill., USA), Zodiac Boats and SCRA Research (Columbia, S.C.) were awarded The Composites Consortium (TCC) Achievement Award for the team’s efforts on the Deployment of Lightweight Shock Mitigating Boat Manufacturing.

TCC is the primary technical resource for the Navy Center of Excellence for Composites, a Navy ManTech program. TCC members are the nation’s leading suppliers of composites to NAVAIR and NAVSEA. The TCC Achievement Award is a peer-based award in recognition of outstanding contributions to advanced manufacturing technology for composites.

The team of five companies earned the award for the manufacturing technology they developed for Advanced Combatant Craft for the Navy. The craft features hull and deck structures that are 40 percent lighter than current construction. Lightweight composite preform framing allows for a structure that is lighter than sandwich composite construction yet gives the toughness, durability and ease of maintenance of single-skin composite. In addition to the weight savings, the design features a suspended deck that helps mitigate shock loads due to wave impacts. Also significant in this achievement is a design and manufacturing process that provides weight reduction without increasing manufacturing cost.

Scott Lewit, president of Structural Composites, states, “It is an honor for our team to be recognized by the composites industrial base. We have been able to demonstrate that we can reduce weight, improve fuel efficiency and improve craft performance without having a major impact on acquisition cost. This supports the DoD’s [U.S. Department of Defense's] broader mission to reduce operational costs and improve energy efficiency. We are leveraging this same low-cost technology to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of recreational boats, RVs [recreational vehicles], buses and trucks.”

Lewit continues, “I want to recognize the contribution we have received from the Navy technical community at the Combatant Craft Division of NSWC and from our team members (SCRA, Brunswick Boats, Lockheed Martin and Zodiac MilPro.) I also want to give special thanks to the State of Florida for supporting innovation and job creation through the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research, which provided grant funding to enhance our federally funded effort and support our commercial deployment.”

Click on "Re-inventing the RHIB: Shock Mitigation" for a full report on composites use in the boat.