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british special forces
british special forces » gear » boats » rigid hull inflatable boats

Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RIB)

The Royal Marines, SBS and SAS Boat Troop use RIBs for a range of tasks.

RIBs have hulls made of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) with a collar made of inflatable rubber tubing around them to provide buoyancy. This design makes them light, fast and durable. It also means there is little protection for those on board. RIBs may be powered by outboard motors or in-board diesel engines.

UKSF RIBs are typically operated by Special Forces Boat Operators (SFBO) on a RIB Team from the Maritime Maneauver Squadron (MMS).

  • Arctic 28 boarding boats.
    These fast and sturdy 28 foot long RIBs are used by the SBS for Maritime Counter Terrorism ops. Arctics have a gun mount at the bow that can be fitted with a HMG. Arctics can be transported on road via trailers, in cargo planes or even carried under slung and dropped into the ocean from RAF Sqn 7 Chinook helicopters or airdropped into the water from C-130J Hercules aircraft.

    In November 2001, a combined force of SBS/SAS used Arctic 28s to storm the MV Nisha, a cargo ship suspected of carrying terrorists.

  • Pacific 22/24 seaboats
    22 and 24 foot long RIBS, typically carried on Royal Navy ships and used for ship-to-ship transfers, rescues and shore insertions.
rigid hull inflatable boat (RIB)
Royal Navy and Royal Marines on board a 22 foot RIB. This type of RIB was involved in the 2006 incident in the disputed shabbat waterway of Iraq/Iran. Armored Iranian gunboats armed with 12.7mm machine guns surrounded a RN/RM boarding party as they were boarding their RIBs following a ship inspection. The small contingent of Royal Marines were armed only with SA80 rifles and were completely unprotected by their RIBs. Even if their Rules Of Engagement (ROE) had allowed it, any attempt to engage the Iranians would have certainly ended in disaster for the UK personnel.

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