Two Boats That Give The U.S. Navy Muscle and Speed in Rivers and Littoral Waters

Some of us are old enough to remember the book PT-109 about John F. Kennedy’s heroic survival story during WWII, when he commanded a U.S. Navy Patrol Boat in the Pacific Theater, or the TV series McHales Navy. Both were centered on the Navy’s PT Boat fleets that were instrumental in the Navy’s efforts against the Japanese in the South Pacific during that war.

That PT boat concept has remained alive and useful over time and continues to be a powerful, fast, and very lethal element in the fleet for carrying out combat missions in riverine and littoral environments. In other words, these boats are small enough, fast enough, and versatile enough to be used in combat missions or rescue missions that are conducted in the more confining environments of rivers and in operations carried out in the shallow waters close to shore. They can be important assets in the open seas as well.

Photo: YouTube/Fluctus

This video covers two different U.S. Navy crafts designed for riverine and littoral missions, the Mark VI Patrol Boats and the CB-90 Fast Assault Craft. After watching this video you will have a very informed understanding of these fast boats, their capabilities and their missions.

The Mark VI Patrol boat is a 54′ long craft that weighs about 144,000 lbs. It can reach speeds of up to 45 knots or 52 mph. They are, in other words, small and very fast. But that is not all. Because of the environments that they are designed to operate in, they are very heavily armed. The Mark VI carries 2 MC-38 25 mm chain guns, several 50 cal. machine guns, and gun mounts for M-19 grenade launchers and miniguns. It has multiple machine gun mounts around the boat so that these machine guns can be moved for more effective use. Their versatility makes them very effective in both peacekeeping and border control operations. This boat entered into service in 2016.

Photo: YouTube/Fluctus

The Mark VI is bristling with integrated, fully-networked command, control, communications, and surveillance equipment as well. There are several flat-screen monitors in the pilot house that give these fast boats enhanced situational awareness and help with mission support. The rear decks of these boats are designed to launch and retrieve small boats for various types of missions as well. The Mark VI carries a crew of 10, with 3 of the crew in the pilot house at all times.

The CB-90 Fast Assault Craft is a Swedish-made boat that entered into service with the U.S. Navy in 1991. It has the capability of carrying a platoon-sized force with all of its equipment into littoral waters. It is 52′ long with a beam of 12′ at the waterline. It can come into very shallow waters and use water-jet propulsion, rather than propellers, to move both with speed and with extreme maneuverability. It is powered by V-8 diesel engines and can reach speeds of 50 mph. This makes them very valuable in littoral waters.

Photo: YouTube/Fluctus

Because of the variety of missions that these boats can be applied to, their crews undergo very complex and diversified training before they are assigned to one of these boat crews. These boats also have dedicated maintenance teams or crews that are called Special Warfare Combat Craft Crews (SWCC). Their training includes weapons and tactics and how to support Navy Seal Teams in their various types of missions. This training can take up to 37 weeks to complete. It is very much like the training of the SEAL Teams.

The old PT boats of WWII have come a long way in speed, maneuverability, and lethality. The Mark VI and the CB-90 are crucial craft for delivering important clandestine troops and supplies with speed, as well as bringing very lethal, offensive firepower to protect and defend troops in very difficult and tight environments.

The video is packed with information and stunning imagery about these two very important combat assets in the U.S. Navy’s arsenal.

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