"Geckos" for the fleet

"Geckos" for the fleet

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“Gecko” – this is the name of the new rescue boat that is currently being delivered to the Navy. The Bundeswehr project team reports: “We have developed a rescue boat to operational maturity that performs extremely well and is very flexible considering its size! The “Geckos” are ready for delivery!”

The new Gecko rescue boat at full speed.

The new rescue boat reaches speeds of up to 70 km/h and is equipped with state-of-the art technology. The aluminum hull is one of the new developments that is now ready for production.

UniSafe/Zodiac Milpro

The boat and its equipment have numerous newly developed features. The hull was completely redesigned. It has an easily exchangeable inflatable tube fender. The radio equipment and navigation technology have also been newly developed and have undergone extensive testing.

22 boats for the Navy

22 of the rescue boats were ordered as a first step. Nine “Geckos” could already be delivered. The first recipients will be Flotilla 2 in Wilhelmshaven, the Naval Academy, Mürwik and the Naval School of Technology in Parow.  The new boats are also intended for the F123 frigates, the F124 frigates, the combat support ship 702, the class 404 tenders and the Naval Damage Control Training Center in Neustadt.

A contract for twelve more “Geckos” for the K130 Corvette has been concluded.

The equipment concept is becoming more effective

All units named above will use the same boat in future, which significantly reduces the range of products. This also saves costs for procurement, supply and logistics. The standardization has two more advantages: On the one hand, fewer trials and tests of different systems or new boats will have to take place in future. On the other hand, less training is required as personnel in different units of the Navy will use the same material and know how to operate it.

Many possible uses

The new boats are extremely versatile. Apart from their main task, the rescue of persons, they can be used to transport passengers and materials as well as for boarding. The boats can be adapted to their role. If more space on board is required for transporting material, six of the eight seats can be removed or flexibly installed due to a track system.

Training on the new boats has already started. Apart from functions and operation of the boat, maintenance, servicing and repair as well as safe operation are on the curriculum.

Newly designed launching device

A launching device is required to lower the boats into the water. These systems are used on the class 404 tenders and were redesigned in a separate project.

The Gecko rescue boat hanging from a launching device, ready for launch

The new launching device was developed in a separate project and will be successively installed on all 404 class tenders


The new launching device will initially be installed on the tender “Elbe”. It will leave the shipyard in spring. The remaining five class 404 tenders will be equipped with the devices during their next yard periods. This is another area where the reduced product range shows its benefits as this system will also be installed on the second lot of the K130 Corvettes. A single hook suspension, rope coiling and takeoff equipment and a load suspension device with low-level pendulum movements will bring advantages, particularly during rescue operations.

Technical data


7.50 m


2.77 m

Max. launching weight

3.8 t


Steyr Diesel engine (type: SE306J38)


214 kW / 292 HP


36 knots (approx. 67 km/h)

Max. payload

1,300 kg

Further technical details

  • Hamilton jet propulsion
  • can be used flexibly as rescue boat, boarding craft, personnel transport boat or material transport boat
  • 8 shock-absorbing seats for transporting persons, seating for four more people on the inflatable tube fender.
  • when used as a rescue boat or for material transport or as boarding craft, 6 seats can be removed or flexibly installed.
    • 4G Radar
    • Electronic navigational charts
    • Chartplotter
    • Hands-free radio equipment with headset
The seats are mounted on tracks at the bottom of the boat

Using a system of tracks, the seats in the boats can be installed, removed or positioned


Reaching the goal together

The project management at the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support was supported by

  • in-house quality assurance
  • Bundeswehr Technical Center for Ships and Naval Weapons, Maritime Technology and Research (WTDWehrtechnische Dienststelle 71) as technical agency
  • Flotilla 2
  • Operational Suitability Test Center
  • Naval Support Command

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