RNLI awards Supacat production contract for first two launch and recovery systems
Monday 16th July 2012
Dunkeswell, Devon, 16 July 2012, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has signed the first production contract with innovative design house, Supacat, to build the first two launch and recovery systems (L&RS) for its new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat (ALB).
The first two production L&RS units will support the initial introduction into service of the Shannon class ALB. Supacat will complete delivery of the first L&RS in May and the second in October 2013.
The L&RS is a 20.2m long high-mobility vehicle and powered-carriage system designed and jointly developed by Supacat and the RNLI's engineering project team. In its most common operating mode it operates as a `mobile slipway` and solves the RNLI's unique challenge of transporting, launching and recovering the 18-tonne Shannon class from the lifeboat station over some of Britain's most demanding beaches to it launch site. The RNLI aims to launch its lifeboats within 10 minutes of being notified of an emergency at sea, making the L&RS crucial to the new Shannon class' ability to achieve that target.
Supacat has value engineered the production standard L&RS to provide the RNLI with a cost-effective solution. Following prototype development and trials completed in 2010, Supacat rebuilt the prototype L&RS up to the pre-production standard system, incorporating a series of design upgrades to improve performance, reliability and reduce costs.
Over half of the 30 key companies in the L&RS' supply chain are locally based in the South West to draw on the region's strong engineering and marine skills base. In March this year Supacat held an L&RS supply chain briefing at its Devon facility to ensure they are fully prepared and engaged to achieve the programme schedule as we enter the production phase of the programme.
Nick Ames, Managing Director, Supacat, says:
"The production standard L&RS is an extraordinary engineering achievement for Supacat, the RNLI and our supply chain partners and we are looking forward to delivering this important contract and supporting the Shannon Class's introduction into service".
John Deas, RNLI Principal Engineer, says:
"The Supacat launch and recovery system will play a vital role in enabling our volunteer crews to launch the new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat quickly and efficiently whenever emergency calls come in. We have worked closely with Supacat throughout the design process and are pleased to be able to sign the first production contract for this advanced and absolutely essential piece of kit".