US Navy continues to prove and purchase new riverine boats


Towards the beginning of the year, a new coastal command boat (CCB) began to operate in this Persian Gulf, outfitting the brown-water US Navy with an interesting new capability as personnel from Commander, Task Force 56 (CTF-56) continue to test and prove a series of concepts.

The 65-foot, 50-ton craft — numbered 65PB1101 — was shipped from San Diego in February. The CCB is similar in design to the larger Mark VI patrol boats being built by SAFE Boats, of which a total of six are being delivered to the region over the coming months. The CCB is acting as a proving platform until the VIs arrive. So far, the craft – with a top speed of 35 knots and a crew of 10 – has been a  popular addition to CTF-56. With 1300 personnel, CTF-56 oversees all threat factors in their expeditionary area of operations including air, surface, subsurface and cyber. Protecting the littorals is a priority and operations will generally involve explosive device clearance, battle space domain awareness, and port protection.

In November, sailors assigned to Commander, Navy Expeditionary Forces Command Pacific (CTF-75), Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 brought in two Riverine Command Boats (RCBs) from USNS Soderman (T-AKR 317) and transported to Naval Base Guam. The new boats are intended to bring added versatility to CTF-75, increasing the overall capabilities and readiness of the 7th Fleet. The two 49-feet long by 12-feet wide RCBs are versatile enough to be used to conduct a wide array of missions – including port security, troop insertion or extraction, counter-insurgency inland, organic air and fire support, support organic unmanned aerial vehicles, maritime interdiction – and fill the role of a coastal riverine force (CRF) unit, which acts as a liaison between the shallow water riverine units and standard deep-water naval vessels.

The CRF conducts maritime security operations across all phases of military operations and defends high-value assets, critical maritime infrastructure, ports and harbors against adversaries and is capable of conducting 24-hour operations in all weather conditions and climates. Other countries are also keen to adopt these platforms. In October, the Navy began undertaking market research to assess the options for 20 CCBs for an unidentified Spanish-speaking country. Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) issued a request for information (RfI) on behalf of  a US Foreign Military Sales customer "in anticipation of a potential future procurement" of 26-28 ft (7.9-8.5 m) Riverine Support Boats.
The boats' operation and maintenance manual was requested to be written in Spanish, suggesting a Latin American country is the likely destination and that maritime drug interdiction is the likely focus of the investment. Highly maneuverable riverine craft have been a major factor in the most recent annual Bold Alligator meeting, a large-scale amphibious exercise that combines forces from 19 nations working on joint crisis-response scenarios in Virginia, USA. Marines took high speed vessels and RIBs through heavy seas, transporting vehicles and logistical equipment into littoral waters under the cloak of night.

Coastal Riverene Squadron 4 from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek/Fort Story conducted escort operations and harbor security practice. Other expeditionary units undertook explosives clearance in sea lanes. Commodore Jeff McCauley, commander of CTF-56, will be addressing the delegation at this year’s Fast Interception and Riverine conference in London, UK (9-11 February), and will be representing United States Naval Forces Central Command (USNAVCENT), the maritime component commander for USCENTCOM. He will be joined by military representatives from other international fast patrol units, including those from the Royal Marines, Royal Dutch Marines, Sri Lankan Navy, Honduran Navy, Norwegian Special Warfare Group and the Portuguese Republican Guard, as well as other representatives from police, coast guard, industry and academia.



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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

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