The US Navy accepted delivery of the first MK VI patrol boat, Aug. 27, according to an official statement. The boat is the first of 10 currently under contract with Safe Boats International in Tacoma, Washington. The patrol boats will be operated and maintained by the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), supporting coastal riverine forces. "This versatile platform leverages a proven, quality design and will provide enhanced capabilities to patrol and protect shallow coastal areas," said Mr. Frank McCarthey, program manager for auxiliary ships, boats and craft in Program Executive Office, Ships.
The MK VI patrol boat is an 85-foot craft arranged with an ergonomically designed pilothouse, covered fly bridge, re-configurable main deck cabin and below-deck accommodations.
The vessel includes shock mitigating seating for up to 10 crewmen and eight passengers with a maximum sprint speed of more than 35 knots.
The first MK VI successfully completed sea trials this summer and is undergoing testing and training evolutions before it will be transitioned to NECC for operational deployment in late spring of 2015.
The MK VI patrol boat is the Navy's first patrol boat introduced since the mid-1980s.
Tracing its lineage to the MK III and MK IV patrol boats, the MK VI has significantly more capabilities than its predecessors through improved performance, navigation, armament, survivability, and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
The MK VI patrol boats are expected to patrol shallow littoral areas beyond sheltered harbors and bays for the purpose of force protection of friendly and coalition forces and critical infrastructure, providing high value unit shipping escort, supporting maritime intercept and Visit, Board, Search, and Seizure operations and supporting theater security cooperation and security force assistance operations.
Follow-on patrol boat deliveries are planned through fiscal year 2018.
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