The US Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC) is expected to take delivery of the first two of ten Mk IV patrol boats later this year.

Speaking at Sea-Air-Space 2015, Chris Rozicer, assistant programme manager for the Mk VI said that PB 1201 and PB 1202 were contractually accepted and were undergoing developmental and operational testing.

He added that the third boat, PB 1203, was about to undergo pre-delivery inspections and trials. All ten are due to be delivered by FY18 and have a service life of 20 years.

The Mk VI PBs are being built by Safe Boats International at their facility in Tacoma, WA following a contract award in 2012. Rozicer said that the US Navy put out an Urgent Operational Need after Iran seized two UK Royal Navy patrol boats from HMS Cornwall in the Gulf in 2007.

At 84.8ft long and 20.5ft wide the Mk VI PBs have a displacement of 170,000lb and have a payload of 11,170lb. They can achieve a top speed of 35kt and a cruising speed of 25kt.

Other characteristics include a fuel capacity of 4,000 gallons and a 600nm range. It has an aluminium hull with ballistic protection and is fitted with two MTU 16V2000M94 engines providing a total of 5200hp.

The PBs have two Hamilton HM651 waterjets and ZF3060gear. They are fitted with tactical VHF, HF and UHF systems; SATCOM; EO/IR systems for surveillance and fire-control as well as IFF, C2 for UV systems and an integrated marine radar.

Weapons systems include four stabilised mount for small arms; a forward and aft Mk 38 Mod 2 mounts; and forward and aft multiple machine gun foundations.

In the interior of the boat there is a pilot house top forward with five seats and directly below a galley area. Amidship there is a fly bridge with two seats and a main deck cabin just behind with 13 seats. Under the main deck cabin is the fuel container with six racks. Below deck aft is the engine and watejet spaces.

Rozicer said that the highlight is the reconfigurable main deck cabin in which the seating arrangement can be changed by moving them on rails or removing them altogether. It allows the optimum arrangement for visit, board, search and seizure teams, EOD, medical or SOC teams.

The weapons can be sited almost anywhere on the PB, there is the option of having both a forward and rear mounted Mk 38 gun although this would reduce boat performance. But there are also placements for M240, two Mk 50, two GAU 17 and two LRAD topside.

Rozicer said there are additional ISR requirements under consideration along with a wide-band SATCOM system and precision engagement capability.

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