It comes to specialized vehicles such as the Zodiac Marine & Pool F470 Combat Rubber Raiding Craft (CRRC) to allow specialized waterborn elements such as the famous United States Navy SEALs or USMC RECON to do their job. CRRCs launch from submerged submarines or are air-dropped from helicopters or medium-lift transports with operators in tow, ready to begin their mission within seconds thanks to skillful planning and excellent execution. The relatively lightweight F470 is a completely evolutionary design as far as inflatable boats go - developed from the outset with multi-mission capabilities in mind while being able to accommodate various engine sizes and cargo loads as required.
The F470 features a high-pressure deck system built around a rigid aluminum deck which can support engine sizes up to a 55-horsepower. This is tied to a pump jet "propulsor" which is essentially a shrouded impeller instead of the conventional exposed propeller. The shrouded impeller provides several inherent benefits in its design, reducing the risk of injury to personnel in the water when the engine is running while also reducing the chance of damage to the propeller itself when nearing unseen underwater dangers such as rocks. The vessel also sports a tear-resistant Duratane "skin" along the floor for heavy duty abuse. The special deck design is lightweight and provides a stowed footprint of just 2'6" x 4'11" which provides the craft with an excellent top speed while allowing for additional gear to be brought along by its passengers. A single F470 can be inflated to its complete size within 2 minutes through pressurized air from a SCUBA tank - a quality certainly appreciated by fast-acting "frogmen".
The CRRC design makes use of eight airtight chambers of which five are connected in the main hull these being divided by internal baffles and valves. Such a design ensures that the vessel will not capsize due to a single breach of the hull. The additional chambers are set along the sides of the raft to allow for cushioned seating. High seas stability is made possible a Vee-shaped hull underside.
The CRRC can be used for both "blue" (open water) or "brown" (riverine) water missions and is fully-capable of transporting up to ten combat-ready Special Forces operatives onto beaches, to the edge of piers, under oil rigs or against stalled vessels as needed. The primary advantage of such a small and fast craft is its inherent stealthy nature, particularly when operated in low-light hours when the element of surprise is key to success. The F470 is also versatile enough that it can be used for MEDEVAC, light cargo transport and other roles beyond that of insertion and extraction. It is this multi-mission nature that earns the respect of water-born units such as the Navy SEALs.
An F470 is typically crewed by two coxswain personnel - one sitting at the stern and controlling the vessel during operation while the other maintains contact with other vessels. The rest of the onboard space is taken up by operators and their gear who take a low profile along the craft's sides. Missin gear is stowed about the open deck space. While possibly armed with a machine gun, the F470 is generally at the mercy of small arms fire from enemy positions - hence the critical nature of stealth required in such missions. The F470 no doubt remains a special craft for special infantry.
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