Special Forces buy Zodiac RIBs


The Special Forces (SF) are acquiring a further, undisclosed, number of Zodiac Hurricane 753 air-deliverable rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and associated equipment. The order, for R5.294 million, was placed last month and follows a simlar, R1 million, contract in December last year.

The website of the state arms acquisition agency, Armscor, shows the Special Forces in November 2009 also placed an order worth R9 934 700 with the Parachute Industries of SA (PISA) for an unknown number of semi-rigid 7.53m Zodiac boats as part of an ” medium range air deliverable boat system.” The contract was placed on November 26. It followed an order, on October 8, 2009, for a number of same-sized inflatable boats, worth R333 740.

The boats are launched from South African Air Force C130BZ Hercules transports using US-company Airborne Systems’ Maritime Craft Aerial Delivery System (MCADS). Airborne Systems says MCADS is the only airdrop system for large RIBs certified for use with the C-130. In an operational scenario, an extractor parachute pulls the load from the aircraft. The boat and airdrop platform separate immediately after exit. The boat lands in the water ready for use and is generally followed by Special Forces parachutists who land near and board it for immediate operations. The platform can be prepared to float for recovery or to sink for covert operations.

MCADS was designed, developed and tested by Airborne Systems in response to US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) operational requirements and is now in use with a number of countries. The company adds that a successful airdrop of a new Zodiac 7.5m RIB for the South African SF last year September resulted in the purchase of a number of PURIBAD platforms, and associated spares.

Zodiac Hurricane first supplied high speed outboard powered assault RIBS in the 1994, a company bochure explains. The Zodiac Hurricane 753 OB FC is typically used by a two man crew to transport an eight person commando team in ship-to-shore, ship-to-ship and shore-to-ship assault missions. The deep Vee fibreglass hull and inflatable collar combined with jockey style seating; provides the seaworthiness, shock mitigation, stability, maneuverability and low signature required to operate reliably and effectively in a hostile maritime environment. The ruggedised hull and collar construction and highly responsive twin outboard motor propulsion system allows the Hurricane 753 to operate safely in heavy weather and alongside larger craft during ship boarding operations.

The boats will likely be delivered to the seaward-orientated 4 SF Regiment at Langebaan in the Western Cape. PISA is a Zodiac subsidiary.

• Length overall – 8.05 meters (26.4 ft.)
• Beam overall – 2.74 meters (9.0 ft.)
• Beam (collar deflated) – 2.03 meters (6.7 ft.)
• Collar diameter – 0.56 meters (22 in.)
• Collar volume – 3633 liters (128 cu. Ft.)
• Fuel capacity – 503 liters (133 US gal.)
• Displacement (with full fuel) – 2100 kg. (4000 lbs.)
• Max Speed – 44 Knots with 1500 kg. payload, range 145 NM; Max HP 2 x 200 HP


Supply and delivery of Zodiac Hurricane 753 air – deliverable boats and associated equipment.

EMTM/2010/541 30 Jun 2011 R5 294 602,00 Parachute Industries of SA (Pty) Ltd

Zodiac inflatable boats and accessories

ESCW/2010/260 27 Jan 2011 R243 026,71 Zodiac International

Supply and delivery of Zodiac Hurricane 753 air-deliverable boats and associated equipment

M/2010/327 2 Dec 2010 R1 048 020,00 Parachute Industries of SA (Pty) Ltd

Supply and delivery of medium range air deliverable boat systems

EMTM/2009/33 26 Nov 2009 R9 934 700,00 Parachute Industries of SA (Pty) Ltd

Zodiac inflatable boats

ESCW/2009/41 8 Oct 2009 R333 740,00 Parachute Industries of SA (Pty) Ltd

Parachute universal rigid inflatable boat aerial delivery sub-systems and components

ESDS/2007/210 21 Nov 2007 R562 432,00 Parachute Industries of SA (Pty) Ltd Lelebotse Projects & Engineering

Zodiac inflatable boats

ESCW/2007/269 1 Nov 2007 R555 737,60 Parachute Industries of SA (Pty) Ltd