(SBU) until 1990. The 65-foot-long, aluminum-hull
Mark III PB, armed with 40mm and 20mm cannons
in addition to machine guns, was built for service in
SBUs by Peterson Builders and Marinette Marine in
Wisconsin. A total of 22 were procured during the late
1970s for the U.S. Navy, with the last withdrawn from
service by 1993.
Three similar 68-foot-long, aluminum-hulled Mark
IV PBs — built in the 1980s by Atlantic Marine — were
designed for service in the Panama Canal Zone. They
were withdrawn from service by 1999. Since then,
the Navy has lacked a versatile, high-speed, medium-endurance, heavily armed patrol boat that could operate beyond the shoreline into less-sheltered open water.
The MkVI is a variant of SAFE Boats’ 780 Archangel-class patrol boat, which has been in service since 2005
and currently serves in the navies of more than a
dozen nations. It has an overall length of 85 feet and
a waterline length of 78 feet, and is powered by twin
diesel engines driving water jets. The boat is able to
reach speeds of 35 knots and has a range of 600 nautical miles.
The boat features a pilothouse, flying bridge and
main-deck cabin. The pilothouse is configured with
shock-mitigating seating with integrated work stations
for the crew. The climate-controlled cabin has berthing, galley and head/shower facilities for the crew to
endure extended operations.
The Mark VI is heavily armed for a boat of its size,
with two BAE Systems-built remote-controlled Mk38
Mod2 25mm Bushmaster rapid-fire cannons, plus
two stabilized small-arms mounts and multiple crew-served weapon mounts.
In early 2015, the Navy was experimenting with the
armament configuration of the MkVI, with one of the
first two boats having a Mk38 mounted forward and
the other having the gun mounted aft.
“The 25mm gun has been installed in the forward
section of the Mark VI Patrol Boat,” Gandara said.
“However, due to its configurability, weapon systems
can be altered to meet the future needs of the mission.
Several boats are being configured to have two Mk38
25mm guns installed.
“The unique design of the patrol boat is its configurability, which will provide the opportunity for
installation of future systems directly supporting the
operational commander,” he said.
The Navy is incorporating some upgrades in the
“The MkVI PB has incorporated two emerging
requirements, an unmanned underwater vehicle
launch-and-recovery system and a wideband satellite
communications system,” Rozicer said. “Both systems
provide the MkVI PB broader capability in the mine
countermeasures mission area and communications
with other nearby Navy assets.”
The MkVI is proving to be popular among its crews.
“The Mark VI is an amazing boat with great capabil-
ities,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate Michael Schwartz,
a MkVI operator. That the boat “provides the crew the
ability to conduct our mission without having to return
to homeport every night is quite empowering.”
Already deployed to the Persian Gulf is the Navy’s
one-of-a-kind Coastal Command Boat, a 65-foot armed
patrol boat also built by SAFE Boats and, in many
ways, similar to the 85-foot MkVI that it preceded.
“The variety of mission sets [the Coastal Command
Boat] is tasked to perform can include everything from
high-value unit escort to theater security cooperation,”
SAFE Boats is pleased with its MkVI product, as is
“SAFE Boats International has provided a quality
patrol boat to the Navy as evident in boat trials and
inspections,” Rozicer said. “Teaming efforts on this
project have been outstanding.”
Rozicer credited a group of fleet-experienced NECC
Sailors for smoothing the introduction of the MkVI.
“The MkVI PB Fleet Introduction Team, a program
office-sponsored crew of NECC sailors, has played a
critical role in developing crew training curriculum
and crew qualification standards as well as preparing
each of the first MkVI PB crews to operate and maintain their PB,” he said. n
27 WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG SEAPOWER / JUNE 2016
The Navy’s new Mark VI patrol boats are making their
operational debut this year. The first two boats have
been deployed to Bahrain and two more are slated to
be deployed to Guam. The Navy has ordered 12 of the
85-foot Mark VIs, the first true patrol boats, larger than
riverine craft, it has introduced since the mid-1980s.