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Zodiac Milpro is a French company that manufactures inflatable boats and rigid hull inflatable boats for military and professional users. Headquartered in Paris, France and with manufacturing facilities in Delta, British Columbia, Roses, Spain, and Stevensville, Maryland. Zodiac Milpro used to be a subsidiary of Zodiac Aerospace but was spun off in 2007.
Zodiac Milpro has originated most of the major concepts that have driven the development of the modern inflatable boat since the 1930s. Since those early days, it has become the main manufacturer of inflatable and semi-rigid boats for professional and military applications..
Though Zodiac Milpro and Zodiac Nautic produce a large range of both inflatable and rigid-hulled boats, the name "Zodiac" has become synonymous with inflatable boats such as the FC470 and as a generic term for inflatable boat.
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The first inflatable boats were designed in 1920 by Zodiac, which produced its first prototypes for the army in 1934. In 1934, Zodiac engineer Pierre Debroutelle designed the prototype of an inflatable kayak. In 1937, interested in his research, the Naval Aviation commissioned him to develop a boat capable of carrying torpedoes and bombs. Pierre Debroutelle developed a new prototype: a U-shaped boat equipped with two side air chambers joined by a wooden dashboard: the true ancestor of the modern Zodiac inflatable boat.
In 1940, Zodiac Milpro invented the prototype of the first inflatable boat. Since the 1940s every major development in the inflatable boat and RIB industry has been developed by Zodiac Milpro.
In the early 60’s, the Royal National Lifeboat Institute in Great Britain designed the first rigid hulled inflatable boat or RIB. This hybrid craft was developed for high speed, offshore sea and rescue operations. Zodiac Milpro continued research and development of this new technology and developed the concept into today’s very successful rigid hull inflatable boats.
In 1987, Zodiac SA acquired a majority share in the capital of Zodiac Marine Ltd. and a majority stake in Hurricane Rescue Craft Inc. and formed Zodiac Hurricane Marine Inc. (ZHM).
In 1991, Zodiac SA combined its Toronto-based distribution subsidiary (ZIT) with its manufacturing company in Richmond (ZHM), to form Zodiac Hurricane Technologies Inc. (ZHT). Today, Zodiac Hurricane Technologies is the world’s largest manufacturer of professional RIBs.
- The ZODIAC MILPRO SEA RIB range (from 4m to 11m).
- The ZODIAC HURRICANE RIB range (from 6m to 13m).
- The ZODIAC MILPRO FUTURA COMMANDO range, multi-mission military inflatable boats.
- ZODIAC MILPRO ZMSR & ERB inflatable rescue boats.
- ZODIAC MILPRO HEAVY DUTY & GRAND RAID™ professional multi-purpose inflatable boats.
Users include French Navy, German Navy, Italian Navy, French Customs, Danish Navy, Italian Customs, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Spanish Navy, People's Liberation Army Navy, Swedish Armed Forces, Singapore Armed Forces, French Fire Brigade, French Life Saving Association, Severn Area Rescue Association, etc.
- "zodiac | Definition of zodiac in English by Oxford Dictionaries". Oxford Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
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