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Boats Made for the Military

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Boats Made for the Military, by Chris Caswell (continued)

35' Challenger

Boston Whaler’s 35-foot Challenger.

When Vietnam came along, Power & Motoryacht’s own Capt. Bill Pike and I were able to attest to the success of Uniflite, which converted its 31-foot cruisers into River Patrol Boats (remember Apocalypse Now?) at the rate of two per day. With a pair of 6-cylinder Detroit Diesels and water jets, the PBRs were the workhorses of the Mekong Delta and rivers.

Today, military boats may be carried into battle slung by cables from helicopters, “inserted” from patrol boats running at 30 knots or, for very secret missions, parachuted from cargo planes at 10,000 feet. But the most interesting point is that, aside from reinforcing areas such as gun mounts, these are all the same boats that you buy from your local broker. No changes in hull shape, no difference in fiberglass layup. Straight from the showroom, your boat is military-grade tough.

A word that often pops up in this military side of the industry is “mission.” Mission-ready. Mission-tough. So, what are those missions?

Let’s look at some boatbuilders and their mil-spec products.

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