Local boat builder to supply vessels for U.S. Air Force

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MANATEE COUNTY-- A Suncoast boat builder has been selected to construct vessels for the U.S. Air Force, that will be used during training exercises over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Air Force chose Hann Powerboats out of Manatee County for the job. Over the next 5-years, Hann will construct a number of different boats for the military branch. Those boats will be used as targets by the Air Force. All of the vessels will not contain an engine, and a majority of them will be 28 feet long.

"Pilots have to be trained to identify a boat and determine if it is a friend or foe," said Kevin McLaughlin, Hann's Vice President. "It's terrific to know that we are providing tools that the military can use."

Hann will receive $4.5 million over the next 5-years as part of the deal. The small business employs only 13 people.

"It gives a level of comfort to the 13 people that we have employed. As the contract develops, it may require us to hire additional people. That's what we are hoping," said McLaughlin.

In its 12-years of existence, Hann has also made and supplied boats to the Navy and local law enforcement agencies.