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Canada to donate 10 Multirole Boats from Zodiac Hurricane Technologies to Ukraine.

| Naval News Navy 2024

On January 23, 2024, Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, virtually participated in the 18th Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG) meeting, hosted by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. The meeting brought together representatives from more than 50 countries, reaffirming their commitment to providing Ukraine with critical military support..
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The Zodiac Hurricane Technologies multi-engine Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) will be instrumental in various maritime operations for Ukraine (Picture source: Zodiac Technologies)

During the meeting, Minister Blair announced a generous donation of 10 Multirole Boats from Zodiac Hurricane Technologies, with an approximate value of $20 million. These multi-engine Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) will be instrumental in various maritime operations for Ukraine, including search and rescue, troop and cargo transport, surveillance, and reconnaissance. Each boat will be equipped with advanced sensors, navigation, and communications systems. Additionally, the donation includes training for Ukrainian operators, trailers, and spare parts, with delivery expected to be completed by late spring 2024.

The Zodiac Hurricane RHIBs are known for their small size and high-speed maneuverability, manufactured by Zodiac Milpro in France. Notably, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has also received similar boats as part of a contract signed in March 2020. These boats are versatile and can be customized for different mission configurations, including commando, search and rescue (SAR), law enforcement, and cabin boat variants, with varying sizes and seating capacities.

The new multi-role boats (MRBs) with twin diesel engines, propeller drives, shock-absorbing seats, and a built-in platform were designed by Zodiac Hurricane for interception and boarding missions.

Under Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) signed a contract on behalf of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) for 30 fast, safe, and agile MRBs designed and made by Zodiac Hurricane Technologies. The March 2020 contract for the 30 new MRBs will take about 4 years to fulfill.

In addition, ZHT was recently awarded another contract in December 2020 to repair and overhaul some of the RCN’s current stock of inflatable rubber boats (IRBs) and rigid hull inflatable boats (RIBs) to keep them operating into the future. They are used for naval missions such as search and rescue, dive support, fisheries patrols, boarding party operations, and moving personnel and equipment.

The new MRBs are designed to be launched and to be operated from the Navy’s Halifax-class warships. They are replacing the RHIBs the Halifax-class frigate have been using. MRBs can travel at speeds more than 40 knots. The Navy’s current fleet of RHIBs can travel fully loaded at 35 knots with a range of 100 nautical miles.

Canada participating to the F-16 Training Coalition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Furthermore, Minister Blair announced Canada's support for the F-16 Training Coalition for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), including civilian instructors, planes, and support staff from Montreal-based Top Aces Inc. This support, valued at approximately $15 million, will commence in February 2024 and continue into 2025, aiding in the training of Ukrainian Air Force personnel for F-16 fighter jets.

Canada is actively participating in two capability coalitions reporting to the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, specifically the Armor Coalition and the Air Force Coalition. Additionally, Canada continues to provide shipments of military aid, including NATO-standard small arms and ammunition, as well as winter clothing and gear, to support Ukraine in its ongoing efforts.

Minister Blair emphasized Canada's unwavering commitment to assisting Ukraine in its defense against Russia's illegal and unjustifiable war. Canada has allocated significant resources, totaling over $2.4 billion in military assistance to Ukraine since February 2022, covering a range of equipment and training support.

Lastly, Canada's Operation UNIFIER, aimed at training members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, has been extended until March 2026, showcasing Canada's dedication to Ukraine's training needs and continued support in various roles within the operation. Canada has also played a crucial role in transporting military aid for Ukraine within Europe, contributing significantly to the cause.

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