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Battle Stations for Boat-Handling Systems

Vestdavit Systems Go Beyond the Simple Davit

The humble davit, used to launch rapid-response craft from naval vessels, can constitute the difference between mission success and failure. Whether that mission is to intercept pirates en route to hijack a UN humanitarian aid ship or to supply refugees – time, efficiency and reliability of all the supporting equipment and systems are key elements in mission execution.

The sea is a very difficult environment in which to conduct military missions as one is up against a dual enemy: volatile marine conditions as well as the actual enemy […] It is therefore vital that a davit system is available for operations as and when required, that it functions correctly and has the widest possible operational window so that it can be deployed in extreme sea state conditions if needed,” explains William Goodall, former Royal Navy officer and now Area Sales Manager for Norwegian manufacturer Vestdavit.

Reliability is a huge issue: davit systems can be used up to 12 times a day in fishery inspection missions, for example. Delivery of dependable boat-handling systems requires these to meet both technical and performance specifications that enable them to respond as expected in real-life situations. “We believe we need to walk the talk. That means not just supplying standardised equipment for our clients only to meet technical specifications, but making sure it is fit-for-purpose and able to fulfil functional requirements in practice,” states Goodall. “The system has to deliver when you press the button, with highly motivated personnel and equipment all ready to go.” A pair of davits supplied to the Royal Navy in 1997 are still operating effectively – testament to the rugged reliability of Vestdavit products, Goodall maintains.

The company is focused on high-end, sophisticated equipment based on a proactive approach to client requirements as it exercises thought leadership in the field of davit systems. Technical Director Helge Gravdal says its long experience enables it to determine the correct specifications for a davit, based on the client’s operational requirement. “Clients […] may have very specific requirements, such as the need to deploy a craft rapidly at speed in a high sea-state, and this influences the design of davit we deliver. So, dialogue with the end-user is very important to us,” he observes.

Vestdavit is also taking a technological lead with, for example, development of davits using electrical rather than hydraulic power and Gravdal believes there will be more hybrid systems in future.

Furthermore, it is now taking an additional step forward with its innovative MissionEase solution, which facilitates deployment of multiple craft from a single ‘garage’ inside a vessel, using an automated track system. Goodall believes the system has significant naval potential.

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