The purveyors of fine nanotech-enabled lightweight boats at Zyvex Technologies have been in touch to tell Gizmag about their latest creation, the LRV-17, developed to combat piracy off the coast of Africa. At 17.35 m (57 ft), the LRV-17 is a slightly bigger boat than Zyvex's unmanned Piranha USV, but unlike its piscine predecessor the LRV-17 can support of a crew of six for up to five days. Thanks to its weight, Zyvex claims its 1500 nautical mile (2778 km) range can outdistance other boats of its size by a factor of three - hence LRV, which stands for long-range vessel.

Like the Piranha, the LRV-17 is made from "carbon fiber nanocomposites," Arovex and Epovex, which are crucial in keeping the boat's weight down to 17,900 pounds (8100 kg). Arovex is a carbon fiber material pre-impregnated with resin, which achieves an impressively high strength to weight ratio: eight times stronger than aluminum while 66 percent lighter, Zyvex claims. Epovex, meanwhile, is apparently unique in the world of adhesives as being the only one "enhanced with carbon nanotubes."

The result is a vessel 17.35 m (57 ft) long, 3.6 m (11.9 ft) wide boat with a 0.75 m (2.3 ft) draft - that's the vertical height from water level down to the hull's bottom. The LRV-17 has a maximum speed of over 40 knots (74 km/h). With a full tank of 6435 l (1700 gal), the boat can run for up to 150 hours.

Inside, the LRV-17 has more to technology to boast specifically designed to cater to rough seas: a gyroscope-enabled stabilization system and "shock-mitigating seats" (which I for one like the sound of).

Apparently indicative of the trend of economically developed nations to turn to private sector security to deal with the increasing threat of maritime piracy, Zyvex Marine has sold two LRV-17s to Global Maritime Security Solutions (GMSS) to be deployed later this year to escort ships on their journeys.

Source: Zyvex Marine