Australia’s The Whiskey Project unveiled their latest Whiskey watercraft – the WHISKEY Multi Mission Reconnaissance Craft (WHISKEY MMRC) – to key US government and defense stakeholders in Washington DC yesterday.
CAPTION: Australia’s The Whiskey Project unveiled their latest watercraft – the WHISKEY Multi Mission Reconnaissance Craft (WHISKEY MMRC) – in Washington DC on 1 October 2021. Photo supplied.
The result of a two-year collaboration with USMC veterans, WHISKEY MMRC is purpose-designed and built to meet the US Defense’s strategic maritime modernisation to address near peer and evolving threats – with specific emphasis on the United States Marine Corps’ (USMC) pivot to the Indo-Pacific.
The Whiskey Project’s Chief Operating Officer Ryan Carmichael said this was more than just an export opportunity of Australian designed and owned defence assets into the US.
“This is about Australia driving innovation to deliver the most capable combatant craft the world has ever seen, for use in a theatre on our doorstep, by our closest ally,” Mr Carmichael said.
“For the past decade the USMC has had a rotational force based in Australia’s Northern Territory and, as US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin said at the AUSMIN meetings at the Pentagon on 15 September 2021 – “the alignment between Australia and the US has never been greater than it is today”.
“The USMC Commandant’s Planning Guidance suggests that the simultaneous development of amphibious capability could provide a further opportunity to strengthen US-Australia bilateral relations, and that joint capability development could improve interoperability between two time- tested strategic coalition allies and “forever friends”.
“The WHISKEY MMRC provides the opportunity to achieve combatant craft with a common hull, a common technology, a common supply and sustainment chain between two ‘great friends of freedom’.
“In anticipation of USMC watercraft operating in-region amongst Australia’s riverine and littoral capabilities, the provision of fit-for-purpose watercraft that enable joint capability and interoperability also delivers a meaningful force-multiplier effect.”
Mr Carmichael said the combatant craft has been doctrinally designed and developed over two years of collaboration with USMC veterans who identified the Whiskey watercraft at Pacific 2019 as the ideal capability enhancer to integrate command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) sensors and weapons, while providing increased safety and protection for their warfighters – a critical consideration for these veterans of Operation Phantom Fury on the Euphrates River in Iraq.
“Developed to provide manoeuvre from the sea to support reconnaissance and counter reconnaissance, surveillance, collections, target acquisition, interdiction and battlespace shaping operations, WHISKEY MMRC features the distinctive Whiskey Sea Blade hull in a 9.5m aluminium variation and fit-for-purpose multi-mission modularity.
“In an exciting development WHISKEY MMRC introduces the WHISKEY HORIZON STRIKE™ technology suite, a game-changing low signature sense-first, see-first, strike-first solution that combines advanced maritime systems, sensors and effectors with proven US in-service tactical networks and situational awareness tools.
“Developed by USMC technology integrator Aries Defense in partnership with The Whiskey Project, WHISKEY HORIZON STRIKE is fundamentally integrated into the WHISKEY MMRC design, facilitating enhanced operational awareness, command and control, and coordination of multi-domain effects to provide Commanders with decision dominance.
Speaking at WHISKEY MMRC’s launch at the Wharf Marina in Washington DC, The Whiskey Project Managing Director Darren Schuback said doctrine drove the design and the Whiskey Multi Mission Recon Craft will transform how combatant craft and crew operate, providing an unparalleled level of joint capability, operational agility, affordability and availability.
“WHISKEY MMRC’s multi-mission adaptability, increased platform interoperability, mobility, survivability and lethality across all operational environments are central to the USMC’s strategy and are further enhanced by the trademark Whiskey slam-reduction hull technology which reduces shock loading on personnel and sensitive equipment by up to 40%.
Mr Carmichael said WHISKEY MMRC had been developed specifically with the US Defense warfighter in mind, but its relevance and applicability to the Australian Defence Force and other Five Eyes nations was substantial, particularly in light of the formation of the AUKUS alliance.
“The WHISKEY MMRC marks an historical step-change in combatant craft capability, enabling significant human performance advantage, operational advantage and a competitive advantage for those who risk their lives in the strategic maritime environment.”
WHISKEY MMRC will be on display at the Team Defence Australia stand at AUSA in Washington DC from 11 to 13 October.