November 30, 2004 Sealegs amphibious vehicles can drive straight from land into the water using high-torque, motorised wheels and 'legs' that retract when the craft is afloat. TheNew Zealand company has now unveiled designs for a new Rugged Amphibious Craft (RAC) targeting commercial, military and recreational applications which features a 140hp inboard engine, jet drive and a solid aluminium hull.
The second-generation Sealegs RAC craft was developed as a result of market feedback. The robust craft is constructed of marine grade aluminium with a large work/payload area and a big hard-top canopy. Unlike the existing Sealegs 5.6m amphibious rigid inflatable boat, which has inflatable tubes and both an inboard and outboard engine, the Sealegs RAC has a single engine, jet drive and a hull with solid aluminium sides. A specially developed air/water cooling system stabilizes the engine.
The Sealegs RAC can be driven on land, at speeds of up to 15km/h, and then straight into the water with no stopping. Once afloat, the wheels are hydraulically retracted clear of the water at the push of a button. The Sealegs RAC is then transformed into a deep-V sea-going boat ready for work on the water at speeds up to 60km/h. With the large rear balloon tyres powered by high-torque hydraulic wheel motors the Sealegs RAC is also being prototyped for military use.
"Adding the Sealegs RAC to our range in 2005 will enable us to sell amphibious boats to an even broader base of local and international customers. By having two quite different Sealegs amphibious boat models to choose from, customers will be able to select the model that best suits their needs and specific application," Sealegs CEO Mr David McKee Wright said.
Construction of the first Sealegs RAC has begun and priced at AUD $89,000 +GST and is due for launching early in 2005.
Sealegs RAC specifications:
LENGTH OVERALL: 6 metres (19ft 8") Beam 2.3 metres (7ft 6") POWERED BY: 140hp 4-cylinder GM Vortec Motor Single stage Berkley Jet Pump HULL: 5mm 5083 Aluminium Hull TOP SPEED (WATER): 60km/h (35 knots) TOP SPEED (LAND) 15km/h (10mph)
For more information see www.sealegs.com