Couach Unveils New Surface Interceptor and Drone While Delivering Overarmed Boats

During the Euronaval show, the French shipyard Couach unveiled the design of a new ultra-fast interceptor called 1200 LMI (Light Modular Interceptor) and the development of the first surface drone designed by the company and called Magellan. The shipyard also presented on its stand the model of the new generation 2200 FPB fast patrol boat whose deliveries to its launcher customer were announced as imminent.

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On October 25, the Saudi Ministry of Defense announced that the first batch of 2200 Couach FPBs had been delivered to the Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF), and in particular the Western Fleet. The launcher customer in the Middle East would have entrusted the French shipyard with twelve of these FPBs in 2020. A versatile platform oriented towards border protection missions, the fight against piracy and smuggling, as well as reconnaissance and surveillance operations and intelligence, the new generation 2200 FPB represents a quantum leap over the previous series built by the same shipyard, offering improved performance and an all-new lightweight combat system handling both guns and missiles.

With a length and a beam of 22.5 and 5.6 meters respectively, the new platform is equipped with a propulsion system based on two MTU diesel engines ensuring a maximum speed of 30 knots, i.e. 18 knots in state. of sea 4, while maintaining great maneuverability. With accommodation for 10 crew members characterized by the comfort and habitability derived from the civilian domain, the 2200 FPB has a secondary conduction station above the wheelhouse. The combat system is centered around a lightweight combat management system (CMS) provided by FrenchNexeya; it collects and compiles all the information provided by the various surveillance equipment and redistributes it to the navigation consoles and firing stations. The CMS controls a communication suite provided by Thales and a set of sensors including a navigation radar and a Safran Vigy Engage EO/IR fire control director. No details were provided on the large radome atop the main mast, which is supposed to house satellite communications equipment. Armament includes a 20mm Super Sea Rogue cannon in the bow area and a 12.7mm Sea Rogue machine gun in the stern area, both remote controlled and supplied by South African Dynateq International, as well as machine guns 7.62 mm manuals. For the first time, the Couach shipyard also embarked and integrated a missile system, namely a LIG Nex1 LOGIR (Low-cost Guided Imaging Rocket), including the multi-tube launcher and the target acquisition and detection system (TADS) dedicated are positioned behind the boat. superstructures. Based on information released by LIG Nex 1, the 2.75-inch Fire-and-Forget rocket has a maximum range of over 8 km and features inertial navigation guidance and research terminal guidance IIR (Imaging InfraRed) whose target data acquisition is provided by the TADS to counter surface saturation attacks.

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To meet a need of naval forces, coastguards and commandos, requiring according to the French shipyard a light and ultra-fast platform to carry out a wide range of missions, including the interception of speedboats, the protection infrastructure and force operations, Couach has developed the 1200 LMI (Light Modular Interceptor) platform. The new boat is modular in design, from the engine to the exterior and interior spaces. With an overall length of 13.95 meters in its largest configuration and capable of reaching a maximum speed of 65 knots or 45 knots with Sea State 2, the 1200 LMI carries engines from 2×200 to 4×400 hp , an open or closed wheelhouse, and large storage and/or recovery areas. Highlighting the shipyard’s capacity for integration and flexibility, the new family of boats can be equipped with a wide range of equipment including radars, GNSS-assisted navigation, infrared cameras and searchlights, as well as medical equipment in the case of the MEDEVAC version.

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Presenting the standard configuration of the new boat, the 1200 LMI is shown with a length and a beam of 13.95 and 3.80 meters respectively and equipped with three 261 kW outboard engines ensuring a range of more than 200 nm at 28 knots for missions of around one day. The rig is fitted with an enclosed wheelhouse with sloping windscreen and air conditioning to protect the crew of four from the heat, which benefits from suspension seats to improve comfort when cruising at high speed. The hull and wheelhouse are made of composite material and the overall design is optimized for high speed performance with excellent sea handling. The foredeck of the rig features an optimized gunner’s station that allows the operator to stand up and absorb the movements of the boat and provides natural protection under the bulwark. The aft deck area is equipped with a starboard rescue area and two benches for a total of six passengers. The same area can also accommodate a 7.62mm machine gun.

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At the Euronaval show, Couach also announced the development of the Magellan unmanned surface vehicle (USV), thanks to the establishment of an R&D department at the shipyard. Designed to accomplish a variety of missions ranging from surface and underwater ISR to target detection and identification or electronic warfare tasks, the USV package under development includes the vehicle, a transport container , a mission planning module and a control center which can be based on land or on board ships. The Magellan was designed to be easily transportable in a 20′ container and capable of being recovered without assistance and without the deployment of a recovery system thanks to its retractable mast and lifting hook.

The USV is shown with a length and beam of 6 and 1.3 meters respectively, and has a displacement of 1000-1200 kg. Made of composite materials including carbon and kevlar, the Magellan was designed as a platform capable of coping with severe sea states, being very stable and self-righting. The new USV has an innovative diesel and electric propulsion based on the use of a 13 kW microturbine allowing it to navigate for five days at a speed of 6 knots, with a reduced noise signature to ensure its discretion. To accomplish the variety of missions mentioned, it can carry a large payload, “with more than 500 liters [volume] for the integration of the equipment chosen by the end user. The drone can be equipped with modules, allowing for example the deployment of acoustic buoys or ESM-type equipment, ”says a press release from the site provided to EDR On-Line.

Photos courtesy of Couach

Earnest A. Martinez