Shallow Draft Boats Fill Navy’s Capability Gap
Colombia’s Ministry of the Interior has contracted COTECMAR to build four shallow-draft river boats for patrol, emergency and intervention missions in minor rivers, through the National Fund for Citizen Security and Coexistence (FONSECON).
The decision was taken after the Colombian Navy determined that, on the Arauca River, there are 268km of navigable water in winter and 45km, but that they lacked appropriate vessels to navigate in their restricted depth. They thus considered it necessary to obtain river craft capable of operating in depths as shallow as 0.4m and manoeuvring in waters 200m in width.
COTECMAR’s ‘River Reconnaissance Boat’ BRF-230 was selected as fir for purpose. FONSECON allocated some $1.7 million (€1.4 million) for the acquisition of four BRF-230 and eight associated outboard engines. The BRF-230 is an aluminium-hulled design with ballistic protection and a crew complement of five, capable of carrying 400kg in cargo. The outboard propulsion solutions allows for shallow-water operations: 8.6m in length with a 2.6m beam, the craft displaces 4.8t and is armed with a single .50cal M2HB Browning in the bow and two stern-mounted 7.62mm M240B machineguns. They also feature a Furuno GP-39 GPS, Furuno 1623 radar and Ritchie SS-1002 magnetic compass.
Santiago Rivas and Florencia Lucero Heguy in Buenos Aires for MON