The KIRTON SKUA 5 metre motorised canoe has been developed especially for clandestine operations with the Special Force Units of the world. The original craft was evolved over three years extensive trials and has now been in service for decades. During this time new features have been incorporated to meet the tactical requirements of the new world order.
The SKUA’s rotationally moulded polyethylene skin, with internal tubular aluminium skeletal frame, makes it an outstandingly robust and rigid craft. With the end of the cold war the military scenario has changed and the SKUA has been updated to meet its new role. The basic boat is essentially unchanged: however, the steering has been improved to give quicker response and the engine size increased to 11.2kw (15hp) for better performance in fast flowing currents. The standard production Mariner 15hp has been modified to include PIRS (post immersion restart system), external controls with quickly detached control lines, a modified carrying handle as part of the highly responsive, rapidly detached steering system, a socket to take the HIPS stabilised power supply (to operate navigation equipment, etc) and a propeller guard. This guard takes only 2 knots off the potential top speed of 31km/h (16.5 knots) but ensures safe and reliable operation in shallow waters.
The assembly includes an improved foot pedal steering control, a nib-type bailing facility, spraycovers and cockpit covers with a specially redesigned central cockpit cover to reduce the risk of collapse under bad conditions, and deck mounted paddles for silent manoeuvring. A fuel ring main is fitted and four sausage-shaped 4 gallon fuel bags supplied, which hang from the craft’s frame and which may be plugged in to the fuel line at four separate take-off points. This allows the weight to be distributed evenly around the craft as the fuel is used up.
Recent additions include a detachable bridging deck between cockpits 3 and 4 to carry a weapon sleeve, compass housing and throttle/gear control for the engine. The bow position also sports a detachable weapon sleeve. A strong safety line has been spliced from one rear carrying handle, through the bow and back to the opposite handle. A remote flotation device, designed for underwater caching operations, is in an advanced stage of development.