New Patrol Boat Coming for U.S. Navy | Defense News |

SAFE Boats International has won a competition to build a new class of patrol boats for the U.S. Navy’s Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), the company announced May 24.

The 85-foot-long Mark VI patrol boat is intended to expand the operating area of Navy patrol craft farther off shore, supplanting and replacing existing craft such as the 68-foot Mark IV and 34-foot Sea Ark patrol boats.

The $30.5 million SAFE Boat contract award is for five new patrol boats, with an option for a sixth — which, if exercised, would add another $6 million to the contract’s value.

Ultimately, the Navy intends to buy 48 Mark VIs.

via New Patrol Boat Coming for U.S. Navy | Defense News |

That’s a good looking little boat. And the stabilized Mk38Mod2 25mm gun is a real improvement over earlier boats mounting an unstabilized Mod1 gun.

You can conduct an awful lot of anti-piracy patrols with a squadron of boats like this. The problem is, if you’re operating off the coast of a place like Somalia, where there are few if any secure ports to work from, you need a support vessel of some sort.

Ideally, it would be a dedicated ship, perhaps converted from an Offshore Supply Vessel, many of which can be bought used very cheaply. More likely, however, is tasking an amphibious warfare ship to support deployments. The only real problem with that is there aren’t enough amphibs to support their primary mission, let alone additional taskings like this.

The Mk VI is the latest Patrol Boat in a series that can trace their heritage back to the 50′ Swift Boat of the Vietnam era. Small patrol craft have never been very popular with Big Navy, but the need for them keeps arising. And yes, I know I still owe you a post on the Swift Boats, TF 115, and Operation Market Time. Soon, I promise.

8 thoughts on “New Patrol Boat Coming for U.S. Navy | Defense News |”

  1. These look pretty good at first glance … but they REALLY need to have a SeaAMOS turret added somewhere.

  2. This looks like a good looks like a good vessel for many uses, but we need to watch that nasty little thing called, “mission creep”.

  3. If the Navy does not want them, let the Army’s Brown-Water Navy have
    them. Then clean out some waters off the east horn of africa with shark

    “The Navy doesn’t know one damn thing about small boats.” Andrew Higgins.

    Let us hope they have not gone back to that pitiful attitude.

    The Army . . .? They think Riflemen should run around with popguns “so
    everyone can be a Commando too!” so there is little hope for them . . .

    And every pogue gets a trophy at the end of the war . . .

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