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The Naval Special Warfare (NSW) RHIB is a 11 meter long rigid hull inflatable boat powered by twin diesel engines, operated by SWCC Special Boat Teams.


The primary role of the NSW RHIB is insertion and extraction of Special Operations Forces (SOF), typically Navy SEALs. This may include insertion/extraction at the shoreline or the NSW RHIB may also be used to deliver SOF on Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO) such as Visit Board Search Seizure (VBSS).

Other roles include general patrol duties, coastal surveillance and resupply of SOF. A squad of 8 fully-equipped SEALs + SWCC crew can fit into a single NSW RHIB.

The NSW RHIB is also in use with some Naval Expeditionary Warfare units in the MIO role.
photo: Marine Corps boarding team using NSW RHIB

Marsoc Marine Raider Battalions also the NSW RHIB.
photo: Marine Raiders aboard a NSW RHIB

NSW RHIB Features:

Like many other RHIBs, the NSW RHIB features a hull made of Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) which is given buoyancy by air-filled gunwales made from reinforced fabric.. This design makes the RHIB tough but fast. NSW RHIBs can operate in heavy seas with winds up to 45 knots.

The RHIBs feature 2 470 HP turbo charged caterpillar in line 6 cylinder diesels with jet pump drives that propel the NSW RHIB to speeds exceeding 45 knots. Max range is 190 nautical miles.

The vessel features saddle-seats for the SWCC crew and up to 8 passengers.

NSW RHIBs are air transportable. They can be parachuted onto water from C-130 cargo planes or slug under heavy lift helicopters.

NSW RHIB Equipment

  • radar
  • GPS navigation
  • IFF (identification Friend or Foe) transponder

NSW RHIB Weapons

The craft has provisions (2 mounts - 1 forward, 1 aft) for the mounting of the following weapons systems:

  • M2HB .50 machine gun
  • M240 7.62mm belt-fed machine guns
  • MK19 40mm grenade launchers

NSW RHIB - Specifications

Crew 3 Crew
Capacity Crew + 8 SEALs or 3,200 lbs payload
Engines 2 x 470 HP turbo charged caterpillar in line 6 cylinder diesels
Waterjets KaMeWa FF280 Mix
Dimensions Length - 36 ft
Height - 17.5 ft
Draft - 2.9 ft
Weight 17,400 lbs
Max Speed 45 knots
Range 190+ nautical miles
Armament m2 .50 machine guns
m240 machine guns
MK19 40 40mm grenade launchers
Avionics Radar
GPS navigation
Secure radio communications (UHF/VHF/HF/SATCOMMs)
IFF transponder

A NSW RHIB manned by Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) from Special Boat Team 12 at sea at Coronado Bay, California. Note the .50 cal machine gun fitted to the forward mount.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Terrence Siren

NSW RHIB Resources

« Special Ops Boats


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