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Today’s patrol boats now tackle different missions across locations

Today’s patrol boats now tackle different missions across locations

The days of creating patrol boats by outfitting general-use motorboats and fishing trawlers with machine guns and obsolete naval weapons are long gone. That was World War II. 

Jump ahead 80 years, and patrol boats have evolved into platforms that have the latest navigation, communications, and propulsion systems while being designed and built with highly efficient hulls that move easily and rapidly through the water and can carry out multiple missions in locations across the globe.

Three cases in point: MetalCraft Marine is building 65 patrol boats that will mostly operate in foreign waters; a high-speed 35-footer from Moose Boats that’s outfitted with fire-fighting systems; and Inventech Marine Solutions’ 40' patrol boat for a sheriff’s department in Florida, which hits 72 mph. 

MetalCraft Marine

MetalCraft Marine, Cape Vincent, N.Y., working on a contract with the U.S. Navy to design and build 45 Force Protection Small (27'x8'6") and 20 Force Protection Large (39'6"x12') patrol boats, recently delivered a 27-footer to the Navy and is due to deliver a 39-footer. The Navy’s Force Protection program evolved from the attack on the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000, that killed 17 Americans. 

Eventually, when American military vessels dock in potentially hazardous ports, “there will be two (Force Protection) boats for every ship,” said MetalCraft Marine’s Bob Clark. “No one’s getting near them.”


The American military vessel will have a large sonoboom around it with sonobuoys at the ends of cables that reach almost to the bottom to detect an unwanted presence. A Force Protection patrol boat will open the boom when deliveries are being made to a ship and then close it when completed. The 39' Force Protection vessels, with four machine-gun posts, will be stationed in remote, open ports, such as Guam in the Western Pacific and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The 27' Force Protection vessels, with two machine gun posts, will work out of enclosed harbors.

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