Portsmouth, Va.-based Fairlead said it signed an exclusive agreement with the Icelandic company Rafnar to build its patented ÖK Hull in the U.S. for both manned and unmanned applications.
“This is very exciting news for Fairlead,” said Fairlead president, Fred Pasquine. “Rafnar has similar agreements with companies in several other countries, but Fairlead is the first company to partner with Rafnar in the U.S.”
The Rafnar ÖK Hull hull-and-keel technology that impressed Fairlead leadership several years ago during a hull test in the U.S.
Bob Bodvake, general manager of Fairlead’s shipyard in Newport News, Va. stated, “The ÖK Hull dramatically improves safety in boat operations. It reduces risks operating in rough seas by decreasing slamming and eliminating bow rise and stern skidding in all sea states. It’s simply a safer boat to operate because it performs better. The reduction in slamming and increased stability offered by the unique hull design will undoubtedly revolutionize the boating market in the U.S.”
The Fairlead-Rafnar team’s objective is to not only enter the U.S. manned vessel market but to position themselves as the premium platform in what is perhaps the largest paradigm shift in the maritime industry in recent years, the advent of the unmanned vessel. The goal of the partnership is to become the leading solution provider in the early days of autonomous boat development, the companies said.
Over the months ahead, Fairlead will be developing the infrastructure and tooling to support hull production, as well as designing a new 11-to-12-meter variant, specific to the needs of certain U.S. tactical and unmanned requirements.