The early divestment of the Mark VI Patrol Boats was covered here.
Naval News has received a reply from NAVSEA in mid-May 2022 regarding possible small boat additions and replacements. NAVSEA focused specifically on a welded all-aluminum 40-foot Defiant-class Patrol Boat, called the PB(X).
“Metal Shark’s 40 [foot] Defiant is a revolutionary new monohull patrol boat platform designed to meet the military needs of tomorrow in a quickly changing world. Developed as the replacement for up to 160 patrol vessels deployed worldwide with the U.S. Navy’s Expeditionary Combat Command’s Coastal Riverine Forces, Metal Shark’s design was selected by the US Navy from a field of seven competing shipbuilders. Designed to address the vulnerabilities of traditional patrol boats while expanding the mission role of the platform over its predecessor, the 40 Defiant delivers substantial increases in capabilities and firepower.
“As configured for the US Navy, the vessel features six MK 16 weapons foundations plus a large forward foundation for stabilized, remote operated, optically guided MK 49 / MK 50 weapons systems.
“The 40 Defiant employs a mission-optimized hull form designed to achieve 40-knot sprint speeds while displaying superb dynamic stability across the full range of operating environments. The vessel also exhibits enhanced handling and delivers greatly reduced operating cost at the 10-15 knot escort speeds typical of force protection missions. As configured for the Navy, the 40 Defiant is powered by twin Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel inboards, coupled via Twin Disc MG5065SC marine transmissions to Hamilton HTX30 water jets developed specifically for the Navy 40 PB program.”
Jamie Kohler, NAVSEA’s Office of Communication, responded to Naval News.
Naval News: Since 2017, have any new 40-foot Patrol Boats been delivered to the U.S. Navy, and if so, how many as of 2022?
NAVSEA: A total of 56 [40-foot Patrol] boats have been awarded to Metal Shark Boats and as of 9 May 2022, 20 boats have been delivered to the U.S. Navy.
Naval News: What is the name of the PB(X)…Defiant….or Mark ##?
NAVSEA: The craft is commonly referred to as the 40-foot Patrol Boat (40PB).
Naval News: Any comments at the slower speed of 35+ knots versus 45 knots for the Mark VI?
NAVSEA: The Navy does not comment on specific speeds of our platforms.
Naval News: Will the 40-foot Defiant replace any of the Mark VIs, and if so, why the shorter boat and lack of Mark 38s 25mm autocannons? What will the standard armament be?
NAVSEA: The 40PBs are not a replacement for the 78PB [78-foot Patrol Boat] (Mark VI). They are a replacement for the current 34-foot Patrol Boat (34PB). 40PBs will be armed with the same manned crew served weapons as 34PBs, specifically the M240B and M2 machine guns.
Naval News: What units will receive the PB(X)?
NAVSEA: The 40PB will be assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Security Group 1 (MESG-1) in San Diego, CA, and MESG-2 in Little Creek, VA under the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command.
Naval News: Will the PB(X) operate in open seas, CONUS ports and bases, littorals, forward-deployed, Persian Gulf, or ride in the well deck of LPDs?
NAVSEA: The 40PB will operate at-sea, in harbors, rivers, and bays. 40PB will also operate across the littorals while conducting maritime expeditionary security operations across all phases of military operations by defending high value units, critical maritime infrastructure, ports, and harbors both inland and on coastal waters.
The 85-foot Defiant Near Port Coast Vessel
Naval News was also tipped off on a larger 85-foot Near Port Coastal Vessel (NCPV) Defiant boat as a new acquisition and asked NAVSEA to clarify.
Naval News: Have any Near Port Coastal Vessel (NCPV) been delivered yet to the U.S. Navy, and if so, how many as of 2022?
NAVSEA: No. NCPV has an active production contract for Foreign Military Sales, but not for the U.S. Navy.
Naval News: What is the name of the Near Port Coastal Vehicle?
NAVSEA: The Navy refers to this program as “Near Coastal Patrol Vessel (NCPV).” Metal Shark Boats refers to it as 85’ Defiant on their website, but the US Navy does not use this nomenclature.
The NCPV (which is based on a Dutch shipbuilder Damen Stan Patrol 260 design) does not replace the Mark VI Patrol Boats as it will not be in the United States Navy’s inventory.