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By Julian Nettlefold

Since the tragic and untimely death of our Naval Correspondent Antony Preston in 2004, BATTLESPACE has steered away from naval stories. It was a pleasure therefore to be asked to attend the sneak preview of the Twin Hulled Offshore Raider (THOR) vessel made by CTruk, an up and coming marine company based at Brightlingsea a picturesque seaside town in Essex in July.

BATTLESPACE was then invited to see another boat, unveiled by Supacat, a company more renowned for cross-country vehicles than ships, at DSEI, the Supacat Multi-purpose Vessel 24 (SMV24). Both ships have very similar designs and capability and both are aiming at a similar market sector.

CTruk unveiled THOR

CTruk unveiled THOR at DSEI. THOR starred in the waterborne demonstration adjacent to the ExCel venue and will be proving its capabilities as a fast, stable and multi-role force protection craft.

CTruk was formed three years ago to build specialist support vessels for the offshore wind farm industry by naval architect Andy White whose heritage lies in the hovercraft industry having designed a number of hovercraft for Griffon. CTruk is a leading designer and builder of multi-purpose composite marine craft that have a proven track-record as offshore wind support vessels as well as numerous applications in the military and security, disaster relief and commercial sectors.

“The basis of the THOR design comes from our vessels we are building for the offshore wind farm industry.” Andy White, CTruk Managing Director told BATTLESPACE.

“Our offshore design was an immediate hit with the industry, we are working 24/7 to fulfil demand for these ships. We have already supplied sixteen vessels to a number of customers. We saw a need for THOR in 2012 following the growth in pirate incidents in Africa and the threat of fast attack craft in the Gulf.” Andy White told the Editor. “The design needed to fit into the well of existing Royal Navy ships including the Type 45 and be versatile enough to fulfil a number of key roles form defending the fleet from fast attack craft to landing Marines on beeches. Thus we designed a flexible pod system into the main fabric of the design which is made of composite. The use of composites enables CTruk to achieve the weight savings needed to make THOR easily air transportable by A400M, C-130 or C-17 and a variety of helicopters.”

CTruk THOR has been designed to fulfil a number of roles including:
. Force protection of the amphibious sea lanes
. Casualty extraction
. Pre-landing force
. Riverine patrol
. Protection of harbours and offshore installations
. Disaster relief

“Have you had any MoD funding for this project?” The Editor asked.

“No, it has been funded entirely from our own resources, the MoD is still formulating its requirement, which we hope to see next year. DSEI will be the showcase for THOR’s capabilities to our potential military customers. THOR has been designed and built by CTruk and incorporates a range of high-tech equipment provided through the CTruk Collaborative Amphibious Project (CTruk CAP): a consortium of companies that have joined forces to compete in a market dominated by larger corporations.”

THOR is more than just a support vessel, it’s a node bristling with high technology equipment and armour which ensures its ability not only to protect the fleet but to manage a number of scenarios evolving around the fleet. THOR is a multi-role, reconfigurable and affordable vessel with a range of applications from force protection to disaster relief. THOR has a lightweight composite construction, which gives excellent fuel efficiency, thereby saving on operating costs and maximising time on task. With a top speed in excess of 40 knots, THOR is fast and suitable for sustained operations over long distances and time periods. It can be rapidly deployed via a C17 or A400M and also from a CTruk 50T mother ship. One deve

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