VESSEL REVIEW | First in new series of 33-foot anti-terrorism boats for US Navy

Photo: Lake Assault Boats

The US Navy has taken delivery of the first example out of an order for 119 newbuild patrol craft in a series to be supplied by Lake Assault Boats, a company under Fraser Shipyards of Superior, Wisconsin.

The aluminium V-hulled vessel is officially designated as a Force Protection-Medium (FP-M) boat. It is designed to provide additional anti-terrorism and force protection capability for US Navy installations to help secure the service’s ships and personnel against waterborne threats within and outside of its ports around the world. The boat’s missions will therefore include patrol, interrogation of other waterborne assets, and escorting of large vessels in and out of port.

The new force protection craft has a length of 33 feet (10 metres), a beam of 10 feet (three metres), and a pair of Yamaha outboard engines that each produce 225 hp (167 kW). The aluminium hull is meanwhile protected by a polyurethane foam collar wrap that helps minimise impact whenever the craft manoeuvres alongside the larger navy ships that it is tasked with assisting and protecting.

Photo: Lake Assault Boats

A wrap-around guardrail is installed at the stern to provide a similar level of protection for the outboard engines whenever the boat manoeuvres in close quarters, such as during escorts of other vessels.

Mounted on top of the boat’s full cuddy cabin are a Furuno radar and a Teledyne FLIR 360-degree rotating thermal camera for use in low-visibility conditions, thus allowing the boat to be effectively and safely operated day or night and under a broad range of weather conditions. Shock-mitigating seats are available for the crew.

A total of four manually-operated weapon mounts are fitted on the boat with one on the bow and three aft of the cabin to accommodate machine guns of up to 0.5-inch (12.7-millimetre) calibre. These crew-served automatic weapons make the craft ideal for dealing with small waterborne threats that the navy’s larger ships will have difficulty detecting, such as skiffs with armed personnel, unmanned boats laden with bombs, and divers carrying underwater explosives.

The US Navy’s 33-foot FP-M boats are to be delivered as part of a five-year Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, which was awarded to Lake Assault in early 2020 and carries a maximum value of approximately US$56 million. Deliveries of the remaining 118 boats in the contract will be made in 2022 and beyond.

Photo: Lake Assault Boats

See all the other news, reviews and features of this month’s Maritime Security Week right here.

Force Protection-Medium Boat
Type of vessel:Force protection patrol boat
Owner:US Navy
Builder:Lake Assault Boats, USA
Hull construction material:Aluminium
Superstructure construction material:Aluminium
Deck construction material:Aluminium
Length overall:33 feet (10 metres)
Beam:10 feet (3.0 metres)
Main engines:2 x Yamaha outboards, each 225 hp (167 kw)
Night vision:Teledyne FLIR
Seating:Shock-mitigating seats
Armaments:4 x machine guns
Firefighting equipment:Portable extinguisher

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