The Colombian shipyard Cotecmar has carried out the christening and launching ceremony of the new light river support patrol vessel (PAF-L) Cristian Rangel Hernandez of the Colombian Navy (Armada Nacional de la República de Colombia, ARC). Designed as a platform for communications, intelligence, and logistic support operations for riverine combat elements. It is fitted with ballistic protection and offensive capability with high artillery power. Its hull shape maximizes the propulsion and maneuvering system performance, comprised of two jet pumps.
Cotecmar manufactured the patrol boat at the shipyard’s construction hangars in the port of Cartagena de Indias for an estimated cost of about USD9.7 million. The new PAF has a detailed series of improvements in its design, among which stand out the relocation of the crew cabins, as well as a considerable increase in its storage capacity for supplies and cargo, also having a greater accommodation capacity for temporary passengers, additionally reducing the total weight thus achieving that the vessel can access to lower drafts.
The PAF-Ls are armoured vessels with a length of 30 m, a beam of 7 m, and a maximum load draft of 1 m. They have an endurance of up to 12 days, which gives them a range of up to 843 n miles at speeds of up to 9.6 kt. The vessel features the Scorpion weapon system that integrates two 12.7×99 mm Browning M2HB type machine guns and another two 7.62×51 mm M-60E4 – or MK 43 – machine guns. The new patrol boat will be able to support 43 personnel, including officers, crew members, and marines.