Over the last four decades, French boatbuilder Couach, based at Gujan-Mestras near Bordeaux, has delivered more than 200 Plascoa patrol boats and interceptors to navies and security forces around the world. Today, Couach’s Plascoa high-speed interceptors are a global benchmark.
In 2015, Couach won a contract to build 79 interceptors for the Saudi Coast Guard. The first boats were delivered in 2015 with the others to follow over a period of three years.
These boats are based on the 1300 FIC fast intervention craft, 15 of which were delivered to the Indian Navy in 2011 and 2012.
The 1300 FIC and its variants are designed for the surveillance and protection of maritime approaches and strategic assets, including naval bases and harbour and port facilities.
1300 FIC (© Couach)
Powered by two 800hp MAN R6-800 diesels, giving them a top speed in excess of 50kts, 1300 FIC interceptors offer excellent manoeuvrability and seakeeping thanks to their deep-V hull made from a Kevlar, fibreglass and carbon fibre composite. These tough boats also feature bulletproof glazing and an armour-protected superstructure made from Twaron aramid fibre.
1300 FIC (© Couach)
hile Couach also offers a slightly larger 15m model equipped with a RHIB and a 20mm remotely operated machine gun, the new model for which Saudi Arabia is the first customer is based on the 1300 FIC. Designated the 1650 FIC, it is both larger and faster thanks to inboard diesels driving customer-specified waterjets or surface propellers. The superstructure, which can be made of bullet-proof material on request, is designed to accommodate a gyro-stabilised camera, a remotely operated forward gun and two manual side guns.
Plascoa interceptors are also available in open versions (i.e. without a closed wheelhouse). Initially developed as a superyacht, the first-of-type Hornet attracted attention from many quarters. Following tests by several international delegations, Couach reported that the potential customers were very impressed by the boat’s safety and stability during simulated high-speed pursuit in rough seas. Using the same hull and engines as the 1300 FIC with Rolla propellers and Arneson articulated drive lines, the Hornet is designed to take high-speed interception to a whole new level. Slightly lighter than the 1300 FIC, it boasts a top speed in excess of 52kts.