Navy orders two Mark VI patrol boats with on-board networking and flat-screen displays
WASHINGTON, 20 July 2015. U.S. Navy surface warfare experts are ordering two 85-foot patrol boats that have surveillance and battle-management networking, as well as flat-screen monitors mounted throughout the vessels.
Officials of the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington announced a $17.8 million contract modification Friday to Safe Boats International LLC in Bremerton, Wash., to provide two Mark VI patrol boats.
These patrol vessels which can accommodate a crew of 10, can move as fast as 30 knots at ranges to 600 miles. Each vessel has a command, control, communication and computing, surveillance and intelligence (C4SI) suite for enhanced situational awareness, survivability, and multi-mission support.
The Mark VI patrol boat has flat screen monitors mounted even at the seats for commandos, and configurable payloads for missions ranging from mine hunting to defending against swarm boat attacks.
The MK VI patrol boat is the Navy’s next-generation patrol boat and will become a part of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s fleet of combatant craft. The MK VI patrol boat’s mission is to patrol shallow littoral areas beyond sheltered harbors and bays, and into less sheltered open water for force protection of friendly and coalition forces and critical infrastructure.
The Mark VI is the first patrol boat delivered to the U.S. Navy since the 1980s, and represents a shift in Navy focus from Cold War-era blue water engagements to placing importance on brown water littoral zone operations.
The vessel is designed to replace the Mark V special operations craft and other legacy craft; the Mark is larger, more survivable, and better equipped with modernized weapons, communications, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.
The vessel can patrol shallow areas, search-and-seizure operations, escort high-value shipping and fleet units in foreign ports, and support special operations forces. Safe Boats delivered the first 10 Mark VI patrol boats to the Navy in August 2014, and eventually may buy as many as 48 Mark VI vessels.
Standard armament consists of two remote-control Mk 38 Mod 2 25-millimeter chain guns and six crewed M2 .50 caliber machine guns. Gun mounts can hold M240 machine guns, M134 miniguns, and Mk 19 grenade launchers.
The boat is powered by two diesel engines connected to water jets that propel it faster than 35 knots. The reconfigurable main aft cabin can hold payloads like Navy SEAL operators or a medical facility. The rear deck and stern is able to launch and recover small boats, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).
Mark VI boats are able to be transported and deployed by larger Navy ships like landing helicopter docks, amphibious transport docks, and landing ship docks.
On this contract Safe Boats will do the work in Tacoma, Wash.; Kent, Wash.; Wichita, Kan.; New Zealand; and other locations, and should be finished by March 2018.