CB90 is highly appreciated for its design and simplicity in production, along with its good mobility, high speed and large payload.
The world arms market has long been a piece of cake divided between major manufacturers. Small or newly established companies account for a negligible market share and are limited to small contracts. However, there are also companies that have made a name for themselves when they launch equipment that attracts customers and wins lucrative contracts. The Sweden’s Stridsbat 90 project, also known as CB90, is a good example, this is a class of fast military assault craft originally developed for the Swedish Navy by Dockstavarvet. Initially, the ship was built primarily to meet the needs of the Swedish Navy, but was later exported to many countries, including the United States.
The original purpose of Sweden when developing the CB90-class was to replace the aging Tpbs 200 class. CB90 has been put into service with the Swedish Navy since 1991 and can be used as a fast assault craft as well as a patrol boat and special operations support vehicle. In addition, the ship can be used for surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering missions, especially the United States.
CB90 is highly appreciated for its design and simplicity in production, along with its good mobility, high speed and large payload. The main secret to achieving these features is the use of a lightweight aluminium alloy hull, 15.9m in overall length, 3.8m beam and has a full load displacement of 20.5t. It has a typical chine hull configuration with reverse sheer and a narrow landing ramp at the front with one-man capacity. The unique drop bow system allows rapid deployment of troops and quick extraction of casualties ashore.
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The CB90’s powerplant consists of a pair of Kamewa FF water jets driven by two 625 Brake Horsepower Scania DSI14 V8 diesel engines, enabling the 20-ton assault craft to reach a maximum speed of 40 knots, the range of 240 nautical mile at 20 knots. The Combat Boat 90 boasts outstanding deceleration and maneuverability. The water jets are partially ducted, which, along with underwater control surfaces similar to a submarine’s diving planes, allows the CB90 to execute extremely sharp turns at high speed, decelerate from top speed to a full stop in 2.5 boat lengths, and adjust its pitch and roll angle while under way.
The weapon fit comprises a 12.7 mm machine gun carried on a ring mount aft of the wheelhouse. This can be replaced with a 40 mm grenade launcher, or a Remote Weapon Station, or other weapons included an Hellfire launcher. A double 12.7 mm mounted in front of the helmsman’s position. The twin mount is fixed in traverse and aimed by pointing the craft – hence the elevation and fire controls are incorporated in the maneuvering levers at the helmsman’s position. Additionally, the CB 90 H can also carry 2.8 ton of mines or the modified Hellfire-type RBS 17 SSM system.
Variants of the CB90 have been built to suit specific roles. The Swedish Navy currently operates 150 Combat Boats. The Royal Norwegian Navy operates 20 CB90s under the designation SB90N. The Norwegian model has a few of design and equipment changes, including its own toilet and armory. The CB90N is even equipped with GPS navigation system and many other electronic devices.
The United States Navy Expeditionary Combat Command operates six CB-90 fast crafts as Riverine Command Boats alongside Small-Unit Riverine Craft rigid-hulled patrol boats in support of US Marines, US Army, as well as coalition operations in littoral environments. The Riverine Command Boats are directly controlled by Riverine Squadrons One, Two and Three.
There is also a stripped-down variant of the Combat Boat designated as the CB-90E, which are employed as Medical Evacuation Boats. Other countries that employ the CB-90 in their own capability include Greece, Mexico and Malaysia.
Currently, there are about 300 CB90 fast assault crafts in operation worldwide. Sweden is continuing to develop and produce this model but has decreased significantly compared to the previous period. In the Swedish armed forces, the CB90 remains the main speedboat model for the Navy with various missions. Experts predict that the Swedish fast assault craft will still have export potential and there may be more new customers in the near future.