The six new dive support boats provided to the UK Royal Navy (RN) by Dorset-based Atlas Elektronik UK (AEUK) are now all operational, the UK Ministry of Defence’s Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation announced on 22 February 2023.
The 15 m-long dive support boats, which are variants of AEUK’s SEA-class vessels, were procured under a GBP 51 M (EUR 57.8 M) contract awarded to AEUK in 2017 as part of the wider Vahana Workboat programme, which is delivering 35 workboats to a standardised, modular design for the RN.
Two of the vessels are based at the RN’s Defence Dive School in Portsmouth, with the others operated by the Fleet Diving Units in Portsmouth, Plymouth and Scotland. One of the boats is also working in Gibraltar.
The new vessels are replacing boats originally introduced into service in the early 1990s that are reaching the end of their service lives.
“These boats are replacing models we have had since the 1990s and will be used by the Diving and Threat Exploitation Group across the UK,” Commander Sean Heaton, commanding officer of the RN’s Southern Diving Group, was quoted as saying by DE&S. “It’s a welcome sight to see the sixth and final one handed over to us as part of this multi-million-pound project.”
AEUK’s Sea-class range are modular, reconfigurable craft that can be applied to a range of missions, including logistics, diving training and operations, officer training, hydrographic survey and passenger transportation.