As part of this investment for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), a contract valued at $35 million was awarded to Zodiac Hurricane Technologies (a Zodiac Milpro Company) of Delta, B.C. for the acquisition of 30 new multi-role boats. These new multi-role boats will replace the rigid hull inflatable boats currently used on the RCN’s fleet of Halifax-class frigates with a more modern and operationally flexible design. This contract will result in creating or sustaining an estimated 25 jobs in Canada.
Multi-role boats are small, fast, and maneuverable vessels used by RCN ships to conduct a wide range of tasks at sea, including, search and rescue, humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and marine interdiction operations in which Canada has become a world leader. All 30 of the new boats are expected to be delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy by spring 2024. The new multi-role boats will be approximately nine metres in length with shock-mounted seating for 12 people, increased speed, dual engine configuration, and electronic suite upgrades to its communications, navigation, and sensors.
Each Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate will be equipped with two multi-role boats to provide crews with increased operational flexibility while deployed. Out of the remaining six, four boats will be used for training, and two boats will be used as spares. This contract was awarded through an open, fair, and transparent competitive process. The Halifax-class frigates will also be equipped with new cranes to ensure they can effectively launch and recover the multi-role boats. A separate contract for the cranes was awarded on April 4, 2019.
Zodiac Milpro is a French company that manufactures inflatable boats and rigid hull inflatable boats for military and professional users. Headquartered in Paris, France and with manufacturing facilities in Delta, British Columbia, Roses, Spain, and Stevensville, Maryland. Though Zodiac Milpro and Zodiac Nautic produce a large range of both inflatable and rigid-hulled boats, the name “Zodiac” has become synonymous with inflatable boats such as the FC470 and as a generic term for inflatable boat.