“Infusing girders in place reduces a manufacturing stage because we don’t have to bond onto the hull later,” says Dodge. “It also reduces the upfront costs because you don’t have to produce tools to produce the complex geometry to fit on to the boat.”

The bulkheads were attached to the hull with a structural bonding adhesive and then hand overlaid with biaxial glass fabric to provide the structural connection between the hull, the bulkhead and the floors.

After completing the HMS Cutlass and HMS Dagger, MST was awarded a $50.76 million contract to deliver 18 15-meter GFRP patrol vessels to the UK Ministry of Defence Police and Gibraltar Ministry of Defence Police during the next four years. The first of these will soon begin sea trials. Norco has partnered with MST once again to deliver the equivalent structures and manufacturing techniques used on the previous 19-meter vessels.

“Norco has become MST’s preferred supplier for our large hulls,” says Chris Hurley, MST project manager. “The quality of their [GFRP] work is very good and has stood up to inspection scrutiny on every occasion from independent surveyors and the UK Ministry of Defence.”

Melissa O’Leary is a freelance writer in Cleveland. Email comments to melissa@good4you.org.


Technicians prepare to infuse the 19-meter hull.

 Photo Credit: Norco Composites & GRP

After removal from its mold (right), the hull is fitted with crash compartments, bulkheads and other internal structures.

Photo Credit: Norco Composites & GRP

A second patrol boat is ready for delivery to Marine Specialised Technology Group (MST) for final outfitting.