offshore-patrol-vessel-piracy-coast-guard (3)I think that, in keeping with my calls for using something other than billion dollar Aegis cruisers and destroyers for patrolling against pirates who use $400 boats, AK-47s and RPGs – see Department of Cheaper Pirate Fighting” and links therein – blogger Brickmuppet (who is a Coastie) sent along a link to a company developing multi-purpose Offshore Patrol Vessels.

It might be a little more sophisticated than my original anti-pirate vessel, pictured nearby with the tank on it. USNIAPVThough the thought is the same – a sledge hammer and a fire axe are not right for every job. Sometimes something smaller will do just fine.

According to “V.Navy” the French built vessels can be used for several things:

V.Navy aims to design multi purposes vessels able to fight against piracy, terrorism, illegal fishing (coast guard vessels), but also able to be used as Fast Supply Intervention Vessel.
These kinds of patrol vessels are completely suitable and legitimate to monitor dangerous areas like Gulfs of Guinea or Aden.

And from V. Navy’s brochure: Offshore Patrol Vessels V.Navy has been specially design to fulfill specific missions to fight against piracy, terrorism, illegal fishing (coast guard vessels), but also able to be used as Fast Supply Intervention Vessel.

Able to accommodate 28 persons dedicated to the mission, it can as well transport 24 passengers.

Control station situated at bridge level is composed of two control stations, forward and aft, a debriefing room is also incorporated in the design.

Its great autonomy of 10 days is provided through its large fuel and fresh water tanks.
Main dimensions are:
Length between perpendicular : 46m
Length overall : 48.5m
Beam max : 9.5m
Summer Draft : 1.8m
WaterJets with Quadruple marine diesel main propulsion engines will be utilised for the propulsion system to reach a maximum speed of 28.5 knots
1. Typical equipment
OPV has typical deck equipment for FSIV operation:
– crane
– anchor winches
– timber covered deck
– 4 x International reefer connections (415V AC/50Hz) (E1 says: Plug in the comm van! It’s modular!)
2. Specific equipment
One launching ramp is constructed integral to the vessels transom to cater for RIB deployment. There is an extended hinged launch gate at the bottom of the ramp that will be deployed with manual hand winch. A single fixed electric capstan winch is installed on the side bulwark area adjacent to the RIB’s. Removable pulley stations will be placed at the top of the launch ramp and in front of the second RIB cradle for retrieval purpose.

A heavy duty portable platform is constructed to fit into the launch ramp for crew boat operations. The insert provide flush deck and transom for normal crew boat operation and lock in place by simple and robust pin type system for easy removal.

1. Protection
Ballistic protection is achieved by Dyneema and is included to the bulkhead of accommodation and fuel tank areas.
2. Weapons stations
The vessel structure is suitably strengthened to support the weapon and its stresses and a heavy insert plate is fitted to the deck. pedestals or mounts are client supply included.
Arms store is provided on main deck

USNIProtector2It looks to me like there’s room for one boat to have the aerostat for long range radar detection, too (see here and CDR Salamander here) And I’m sure the V boats could handle UAVs. USVs and all the other alphabet soup of unmanned ship extenders just fine.

Add to the economy squadron a helicopter capable ship and you are off to the littorals. Even the “idiots-go-to-sea crew” on Whale Wars can operate a helo, after all.tidewater-helo

Are these boats or the ones I’ve suggested to be cobbled from offshore oil supply vessels meant to take on mines, submarines, aircraft or fleets of warships? Well, no, they are not. But for fighting pirates and terrorists in littoral waters, they may be just the thing.

I’m willing to bet an American ship yard or two could either whip up something similar or modify existing offshore boats in a jiffy. Putting Americans back to work and offering an opportunity to learn new job skills, etc. Using pork money! Using “economic stimulus money!”

Posted by Mark Tempest in Maritime Security, Piracy

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  • sid

    A modern day Mosquito Fleet

    The USN has historically relied on an extemporized fleet for such threats.

  • Dee Illuminati

    I like the title and have worries that the US is losing the commanding heights of an economy in three critical areas:

    One renewable energy

    Essentially the US lost the “commanding heights” of this critical business sector. See “commanding heights” PBS

    Second ship-building

    The introduction of small inexpensive littoral vessels in new ship-yards will introduce competition and provied shovel ready stimulus jobs at a level of the economy that multiplier jobs will be created. No nation or society flourishes in history if vital trade lanes and fisheries are not protected.

    Third littoral exploration and sea-bed mineral and energy claims. With 75% of the earth under oceans vital resources need to be explored and brought to market. In an increasingly resource competitive world this agenda is critical. There is no formal or evolving plan to meet this challenge and doing so with traditional surface USN destroyers is “cost innefective.”

    There is an incredible gap in needs for an emerging economy and national security and the special interests in this current economy. But I fear we as a culture, western culture is losing ground in smart energy, energy independence, core manufacturing, ship-building, and missing the advantage of a controlled economy to recognize and seize these segments of tomorrow’s jobs today.

    While the specifics of the specifications of a littoral vessel can be debated, the outline for jobs, security, and energy should not be ignored. Building these vessels meet the objectives enumerated above that address some of the core national security interests of the developed western economies.

    Serious discussion on some jobs with genuine national security interests needs to be pursued.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Whoa, whoa whoa! “Extemporized”? You made me pull a muscle in my head!

    What would the standoff weapon be? Twin M2 .50 caliber MGs on a pedestal mount might do the trick. Sufficient range, hitting power, and rate of fire.

    (Besides, I would rather help pay for a few dozen of these than half the mortgages on my street.)

    Shore based support, or bring back the concept of a “tender”?

  • Chuck Hill

    Looks like the proposed vessels are almost exactly the same size as the new Coast Guard Fast Response Cutters, they are 47 meters.

  • Eagle1

    I wondered if anyone would notice the size comparison with the CG FRCs.

    They are supposed to have about the same speed, too, though the V.Navy boat suggests longer endurance.

  • sid

    Whoa, whoa whoa! “Extemporized”? You made me pull a muscle in my head!

    Can’t claim it as original. Friedman repeatedly uses it in his Small Combatants

    And so small combatants lie outside the mainstream of U.S. naval strategy, outside the balanced fleet of capital ships, escorts, and submarines designed to project U.S. power abroad. Because of this, they tend to fill extemporized roles in wartime, and to be discarded in peacetime. This pattern makes the subject of small combatants an emotional one, as many of their advocates emphatically disagree with the fleet oriented logic that results in the rejection of such useful craft during peacetime.

    It gets better…

    The development of small combatants in the United States was driven by two quite separate factors: technology, particularly the technology of high speed, and national strategy. High speed, whether tactically useful or not, often appears so attractive that the possibility of attaining it, even at great expense, seems to justify the construction of new craft. Sometimes, as in the case of the PT, strategic conditions provided the necessary justification. Sometimes, proposals for new craft turned out to be nothing more than “solutions seeking problems,” and they died.

    This was inked in 1987. Sure is a shame the folks that came up with the LCS didn’t bother to read their own history…

    Bet this book -where you can find it on official shelves- is a bit dusty….

  • Chuck Hill

    While the Fast Response Cutter specification was only 5 days, I suspect it is capable of much longer endurance. talks about water tanks, but if it is like the 110ft WPBs the new vessel will make it’s own water by reverse osmosis, and earlier specifications referred to a 3500 mile range.

    I would hope we will get more specifics on the actual design chosen soon.

  • An aerostat is a fine sensor capability, IF you have no need of going anywhere, FAST. Wild idea of towing an aerostat behind a cruise ship was just tested by Royal Carribbean; on their giant cruise ship OASIS with result of a loosed tether and lost aerostat. Bad idea for chasing down pirates.

    Ah…but why bother? Instead of a boat/helicopter/aerostat combo, simply move to amphibious, hard shelled, airships. All those others into a single package.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    If you are just going to go a-hunting pirates, the gulf coast has plenty of mudhole family shipyards which can zip you up something on the the cheap. A stabilized chain gun fwd and aft and a stern RHIB launch and recovery ramp under a minimal helo deck make a nice starter set.

    Don’t forget to add:
    Military Comms Suite:
    Sick Bay/Surgery
    Helo refuel
    UNREP capability
    Chill and Frozen Store capacity upgrade
    Repair lockers and DC gear upgrade
    magazines/sprinklers/ammo hoists
    fire control
    boat shop
    armory (gun repair)
    small arms
    repair parts and consumable stowage
    Paint and Bosun locker
    Evaporator capacity
    Stores and ammo cranes
    a CIC and a big electronics upgrade
    greatly increased berthing and messing capacity
    more lifeboats etc., etc.
    because you are adapting a vessel designed for a Captain and a Mate, a Chief and a First engineer, a Bosun, three AB’s and an ordinary or two, maybe an oiler and a wiper and a cook for patrol and intercept with a naval crew.

    Every capability requires more crew, more hotel services and more engineering support. Don’t forget the Naval Architect fees. Plan carefully, change orders are really expensive. Expect shipyard rework – it’s all new to the shipyard.

    PS: this assumes the pirates are limited to small boats, small supply ships and small arms.

    By the way, how are you going to man it, maintain it, resupply it and give it time off the line for R & R.

    It won’t be as cheap as some think. Or as quick and easy.

    Details, details.

  • Eagle1

    Grampa: Improvise, adapt, overcome.

    Not building a cruiser here, just a little gunboat for littoral patrol.

    Probably won’t need that auto dog either.

  • Grampa Bluewater

    Eagle 1:

    Auto dog went over my head, sounded a bit snide.

    On to the riposte: Life is not a Clint Eastwood movie. I’m not
    imagining Tonka Toys, I’m discussing the necessity of sound logistics to successful military operations on any scale, small in this case.

    I spent two years overseas in a remote location trying to make bricks without straw(keep underprioritized, under resourced vessels in constant operation) because some big thinker wanted it fast, bad. He got it fast, and it went bad. Fast. I know all about improvise, adapt, barely and miraculously get by. It eats retention, careers, families. Good people get hurt. I don’t push anything I’m not willing to be shipmates in. And yes, I have worked the oil patch, so I know a bit about those ships.

    No maintenence, pretty damn soon, degrading capability, no reliability.

    Every thing I mentioned is directly related to providing mission related equipment, operationally required personnel and the maintenence and safety of same.

    Then there is the enemy. You go to kill people and shut down what puts food in their kids’ mouths and think they won’t maybe shoot first, much less back?

    I’ve cleaned up blood on the deck and I’ve rendered first aid. Adapt to a combat mission in a remote area with no sick bay? No armory? No plan of support?

    You want to send your kid or grandkid?

    I’ve also lugged captured narcos a few hundred miles in a spit kit with no brig. Fun. Not. Prisoner restraint and crew safety is not a minor issue when capital punishment is in the back of the prisoners’ minds.

    One needs to think things through.

  • Eagle1

    First, I’d not only send my sons – I’d go myself.

    Second, it’s concept. I suppose I could work up a ROC and POE and a log plan but is it really necessary at the conceptual stage? At least this concept uses off the shelf components and doesn’t depend on the arrival of a magic “black box” to make the concept work.

    Third, these are not little boats in which a corpsman doesn’t fit and there are berths and tables for “sick bay.” In fact, pretty similar to what we had on an older destroyer and far better than on a WWII PT boat. Plus, under my concept there will be a larger hull bobbing about near by to support and provide tender services and next level medical.

    Fourth, life many not be a Clint Eastwood movie, but it’s great quote. I like “The best is the enemy of good enough” too.

    Fifth, milcom suites with crypto can be in a box. See the MIUWU vans or what they put on an airplane. Don’t need a CIC – just some sharp watch standers.

    Sixth, don’t need unrep capability or helo refuel (except on the helo ship and then it’s a bladder – also see above about a larger hull nearby.

    Ammo hoists? For what, exactly? Might put 20mm cannons or some .50 cal about but I don’t recall needing a hoist for those.
    Fire control? We called them sights.

    Paint, bosun locker, boat shop, stores and ammo cranes? armory (gun repair, brig,repair parts and consumable stowage,Evaporator capacityand, big electronics upgrade,greatly increased berthing and messing capacity,more lifeboats etc., etc? One of us is confused about the model I’m pushing here. Think KISS.

    And, yes, I’m assuming the pirates are using small boats and small arms because, well, that’s what they use. If they bring out a missile boat, a cruiser or a submarine, we have whole different ballgame. And if we are surprised that they have one of those things, shame on us.

    Oh yes, the “auto dog” – a/k/a a soft ice cream dispenser – and it probably was snide.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    OK, KISS.

    Oil patch supply boats pretty much already have a softee freez machine. Standard equipment, like the deep fat fryer. The cargo (mud, pipe and burly general stuff) and dive support ones, anyway; I don’t think either one of us is talking water taxis like Swifts.

    It all boils down to range, endurance, sea keeping, search capability, protection, and lethality. Which are keyed to the Area of Operations and nature of the threat, er, prey. Size affects them all.

    Or more specifically:
    Range, endurance, seakeeping and search capability are are inter-related. Bigger means further, longer, in rougher seas and
    more area in less time to a finer grain of detail. Regular maintenence, both on board and Intermediate Level Maintence (beyond own ship) is the other force multiplier here.

    Seakeeping (to a lesser degree), protection (which includes medical capability and DC for purposes of the discussion) and lethality are interelated as well. Once again size (of ship, of crew) matters, bigger gets you better and more. And ammo means magazines and enhanced fire protection come with naval guns of any dbore diameter and caliber.

    Boats for boarding parties are a whole ‘nother can of worms (“few seamen are boatmen and few boatmen are seaman” – Lytoller (sp.?)) The more gear and more sailors the more capability. Note also that Houma, La has a lot more darwinian take on safety than say, Norfolk, Va

    Here is where Gorskov’s Principle (perfect yadda yadda..) kicks in. How much is enough?

    It all depends. I might agree we’re talking apples and coconuts here, so what do you want this critter to do for how many days in how bad of weather (required operational capabilities) and where and when do you plan to use it (projected operational environment).

    Why don’t you lay out your vision on that and then we’ll bat it back and forth some more. Macintoshes and Rome Beauties.

    One minor point. A Gearing or a Fletcher an oil patch supply boat
    is not. Not even a four stacker. SHP, block coefficient, length, crew size (20 in a DD for every one in a supply/support boat – niether carrying one more than absolutely necessary), and whole lot more. Not even a DE actually.

    Let’s kick this around in some more detail.

  • Chuck Hill

    I think we already have this boat building in the new Coast Guard Cutter. I found a preliminary estimate of range today as 2,950nmi. That has got to give it a comparable endurance. If anything it has more of Grampa’s features including secure comms and a stabilized 25mm. Since it is supposed to be mission capable, including boat ops up to a state 4 sea, it shouldn’t have trouble being on station anytime the pirates are out.

    Concept of ops is a valid question.

    I’d really like to see the cruise report from the two Swedish Corvettes and their attendant support ship, {HMS Malmö (K12), HMS Stockholm (K11), HMS Trossö (A264)} that are off Africa now.

  • Grampa Bluewater


    I’m with you. Another poster put some stuff up a while ago on just that.

    I don’t object to improvisation, if it is very carefully thought through.

    Walking through the process can be both useful and informative, and heaven knows I can be mistaken, so I learn a lot from the discussion. Who knows, we might even reach some kind of consensus, or at least better understanding of the issues.

    The Swedes sound interesting.

  • Chuck Hill

    The Swedish experience is kind of unique in that they are the only ones I know of operating this size ship (600 tons) this far from home.

    Frankly I think the small ships have a place and the US Navy has neglected them, but they have serious limits as well.

  • Chuck Hill

    This is very interesting. Sri Lankan Littoral Combat:

  • Chuck Hill

    Sorry, HMS Malmö (K12) and HMS Stockholm (K11) are 380 tons, even closer to what we were discussing.