PT Boat Tender: 2021 Edition
Offical caption for these images:
PHILIPPINE SEA (Feb. 25, 2021) Sailors with Bravo Company, Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 2 [formerly Coastal Riverine Squadron Two], maneuver a U.S. Navy Mark VI patrol boat alongside the dock-landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) during a refueling operation. This refueling operation is the first time Ashland has refueled a Mark VI patrol boat while at sea. Ashland, part of the America Amphibious Ready Group, along with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Of course, while the Mark VIs are the same size, speed, and spirit as the old PT boats, they lack the massive offensive weapons those crafts had but do still pack a decent punch in so far as 25mm (1) and .50 cal (4) mounts are concerned– three of them stabilized and using a multi-sensor optic– making these boats valuable in a host of counter-piracy, counter-insurgency, harbor defense and operations short of full-scale war with a near-peer adversary, especially if they could be “fed-ex’d” to any littoral around the world in a gator such as Ashland.
Heck, they could even be used as commerce raiders with an embarked VBSS team should that come into vogue again.
Too bad the Navy is ditching them.