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Nautiraid High Pressure Commando Mk.1
The HP (High Pressure) Commando Mk.1 inflatable kayak is currently in service with French Special Forces, particularly the Army’s 13e régiment de dragons parachutistes (13e RDP). Although the unit is guarded about its operational equipment, this kayak has had some publicity.
Nautiraid have a long tradition of supplying kayaks to the French armed forces, with the SB Commando MK VI two-man kayak currently in service. The firm has enjoyed modest export success with its products competing with the ubiquitous Klepper Mk.13, US designed Long Haul Mark II Commando and British designed Wayland Mk.II Formoza 550XL Combat. The HP Commando is a unique product however and does not face very much direct competition.
The single seat craft is most suited to inland waterways, being particularly suited to the tropics where it can be used for long range reconnaissance. The fundamental advantage of the design is that it can be air-dropped with the commandos. France pioneered air-dropping regular folding kayaks but this was problematic inland where the kayaks could land in a tree or too far from the men.
Once landed they are inflated with a 7L air SCUBA tank, which takes about 3 minutes. It is made of the same strong rubber as the CRRC (Combat Rubber Raiding Craft) which makes it quite robust. When the operators approach the Mission area they can sink the craft and hide it underwater. For this, there is a large valve at the front that enables the operator to quickly deflate and dissimulate the craft. Once the mission is accomplished they can recover the inflatable with the help of the second air tank.
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It is quite stable and it is possible to stand on it like a paddleboard.
Length: 3.5 meter
Beam: 1 meter
Draft: >0.2 meters
Weight (without air flask): 20 kg
Cargo: 300 kg
Propulsion: normally human only, but sometimes fitted with electric motor
Armament: Infantry weapons
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