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Nanotech versus the pirates: Zyvex Marine unveils the LRV-17


July 20, 2012

Zyvex Marine's latest nanotech-enabled lightweight boat, the LRV-17

Zyvex Marine's latest nanotech-enabled lightweight boat, the LRV-17

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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

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Nice boat...where are the torpedos? the machine guns? I think the best weapon is still the helicopter gunships and their mobile base...those countries where the pirates come from should be limiting fuel sales to reduce the range of offshore boating to their own waters, vessels wishing to leave national waters for international should be monitored by the nation of origination...and have mandatory ID beacons or they should be sunk.

John Parkes

How long did it take "nanotech" to go from sci fi concept to completely meaningless marketing buzzword?

I just made a boat out of paper. Being composed of molecules, it too employs nanotech.

Jon A.

Hmmm, I am skeptical on the strength and weight claims for this vessel.

The author states that the vessel is 8 times stronger and 66% lighter than Aluminum. However, my expeience teaches me that composites are strongest in the direction the fibers are laid and do not have the same omnidirectional strength. Otherwise, the composite would be 12.1212 times stronger pound for pound (8 / .66) and at the same strength would only weigh 8.25% of the weight (91.75% lighter). Therefore, I believe the craft is 8 times stronger directionally to make up for omnidirectional deficiencies in strength but is 66% less weight (52647LB - 66% of 52647LB = 17900LB) and therefore has about 3 times the range because it is approximately 1/3 the weight.

Gary Richardson

8100kg for a 57' boat is pretty damn impressive.

Normal GRP for that sort of length would be at least 3 times the weight.

When can we expect to see consumer vessels using these hull materials?


lets see..."claims its 1500 nautical mile (2778 km) range" and "full tank of 6435 l (1700 gal)", thats about 1.2 miles per gal, typical Sea Ray performance - the top speed is not bad "maximum speed of over 40 knots", then again 11.9ft beam is allot less water displaced then a typical 14-16ft Sea Ray beam which will do 30+ knots at WOT. Sounds like the US Navy will be paying allot of money for a "nanotech enabled" (not even sure what that means) Boston Whaler with huge fuel tanks, and it comes with "shock-mitigating seats" instead of your standard soft boat lazy-boy style boat seats.

So instead of using a heli with a missile to get rid of the turds once and for all will will be chasing them for upto 5 days and then provide them with a shock-mitigating cruise experience to bring them home just so they can refuel and do it again?

Yan Schechter

If you think the weight is impressive look no further then any Cigarette boat, similar length and about same beam...amazingly same weight. Then again its simple fiberglass, you can't charge the army a gazillion dollars for regular plastic, but nanotech enabled is a different story.

Yan Schechter

Carbon fiber is not bulletproof. Some nano materials have proven to be unhealthy and I don't mean because things made from them carry weapons. They could be the next asbestos.


Diesel fuel weighs 7.15 lbs./gallon.

1,700 gallons weighs 12,155 lbs.

Surely they're not claiming 40+ knots WITH full fuel,gear,weapons AND crew?

The pirates often run smaller,lighter twin/triple outboard speedboats that can go 55mph plus and just run back and forth short distances to their base.

Range is irrelevant here- just get some vintage Aronow Blue Thunder boats by Don Aronow(RIP) and you'll be better off.

If you want speed,40 knots is just not fast. Get over 80 in a pursuit and you're getting somewhere.

Fully armed helicopters would have even better coverage from above,though.

The pirates have the edge over nanotech because of home field advantage and the law of large numbers.

Two relatively slow boats? I'm sure they're not worried.

I have designed and built faster military boats with better fuel efficiency so I am not speaking from mere opinion.


Wow. Where the hell is the nano technology, carbon fiber doesn't really mean much, its used everywhere. Sounds good though.

Art Brooks

I wonder how this speed/range performance compares to a hydrofoil of similar dimensions. I'm no marine architect but it would seem that 'flying' through the water would be more efficient than pushing it out of the way. As far as the pirate aspect goes, as in any other human endeavor, the more dangerous it is, the less likely one is to engage in it. If people stop trying to placate and engage instead, there would be less pirates alive and less interested in attempting it. 4 M1A2 will engage at standoff distances leaving shippers safe and pirates dead. Maybe leave one alive to go back and tell the others.


I too am not too impressed with the limited specs given. What is this boat powered with, single, twin, diesel, turbines, prop or jet? How does it move?

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