The navy is back in the Patrol Boat business.
They are looking to buy as many as 48 new 78-foot patrol craft from SAFE Boats International.
“Built to replace the older speedboat looking MkV (which was never very popular with NSW) and the smaller Sea Ark type patrol craft, the Mk VI certainly looks like it can hold its own with an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Boghammer. The 78-foot MK VI PB is a variant of SBI’s versatile 780 Archangel class patrol boat and has a hull optimized for performance, fuel economy, and firepower. Systems are designed to reduce Total Ownership Cost (TOC), minimize manpower and improve reliability and maintainability. Powered by twin diesel engines and waterjets, the MK VI PB is capable of speeds in excess 30 knots at full load and can be armed with a variety of crew served and remotely operated weapons systems up to 25mm. She has a range in excess of 600 nautical miles and the ability to burn both marine grade diesel fuel and JP-5. Berthing accommodations, galley and head/shower facilities allow for extended missions.”
At $6-million a pop they are twice as expensive as USCG 87-foot WPBs and with much shorter legs, but they have huge teeth. Notice the 25mm MK38 forward, the M2 RWS mount atop the wheelhouse, and the four crew-served mounts amidships and aft for Dillion mini-guns, M240Gs, MK19 grenade launchers, or other party favors. Of course these would be toast in a defended environment like the China Sea, but are gold for choke points like the Persian Gulf, anti-pirate ops, littoral warfare against asymmetric threats etc.
The new MkVI (already dubbed the Super Swift by some naval writers) could be the backbone of the new CRF, etablished 1 June this year. The Coastal Riverine Force (CRF) operates in harbors, rivers,bays, across the littorals and ashore. The primary mission of CRF is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending high value assets, critical maritime infrastructure, ports and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways against enemies and when commanded conduct offensive combat operations.
The above graphic shows how 4 MKVI patrol boats can be transported inside the well deck of either a LHD-1, LPD-17, or LSD-49 class amphibious warfare vessels. Even the older LPD-4 types can carry a pair of the super swifts. The huge LCAC-designed well-deck of the LSD-41 type landing docks can carry an entire expeditionary squadron of 8 MkVI boats inside her hull. Couple this with berthing for brown water sailors, flight deck spots for SH/MH60 helicopters and UAVs and you see how a group of MKVIs can be UPS’d to a contested strip of coastline.
CRF consists of two headquarters staffs, Coastal Riverine Group (CORIVGRU) 1 in San Diego (Navy Outlying Landing Field, Imperial Beach) and CORIVGRU 2 in Virginia Beach (Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story). CORIVGRU’s primary mission is to man, train, and equip subordinate forces for tasking as assigned in the required operational capability and projected operating environment.There are two Active Component (AC) squadrons (CRS 2 and 4), and two Reserve Component (RC) squadrons (CORIVRON 8 and 10) assigned to the East Coast and one AC squadron (CORIVRON 3) and two RC squadrons (CORIVRON 1 and 11) assigned to the West Coast. Total manning is 2510 active and 1896 reservists.