Damen Shipyards has delivered a modified fast crew supplier (FCS) to the UK’s Royal Navy’s ‘NavyX’ innovation team in a handover at the naval base in Portsmouth. It is the first Damen vessel to be supplied directly to the Navy and will be used to test new technologies and support innovation.
The XV Patrick Blackett, named after a naval officer and scientist and powered by four Caterpillar engines, is a modified 42m-long FCS 4008 with a five-person crew. The Damen X-bow provides good seakeeping and stability characteristics, the Dutch shipbuilder said in a statement.
The vessel will support the testing of new technologies and its 140m2 of deck space will provide a large, unobstructed area for equipment such as unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles. The under-deck space normally used as seating for up to 100 persons has been redesigned to provide an operations centre and a meeting room.
Head of NavyX, Colonel Tom Ryall, commented: “The arrival of this vessel is a pivotal moment for NavyX’s ability to deliver output, and is a step change for the Royal Navy. She will give us greater flexibility to experiment with novel military capabilities, iterate and accelerate new technology, kit and concepts for the benefit of both the Royal Navy and industry.”
Damen scores a first with modified FCS delivery