There will also be two forward-deployed expeditionary security detachments (Dets) – CRG 2 Det at Bahrain with the Fifth Fleet and CRG 1 Det in Guam. These detachments provide fleet commanders with a persistent presence of embarked security teams (EST).
Each AC squadron will be organized into a headquarters element and four companies, with a mix of 34-foot Sea Ark force protection boats and riverine craft. A through C Companies will be predominantly composed of personnel from MESF squadrons and Sea Ark boats while the D company will be riverine-focused.
Each company will be trained to operate all boat types and operate as an independent unit. Each company has two platoons, with personnel assigned for boat operations, a security team capable of conducting visit board search, seizure (VBSS) missions, and an intelligence surveillance recon (ISR) team capable of operating unmanned vehicles and squadron-level communications equipment. Each company is notionally equipped with four green-water capable patrol boats and four riverine/harbor security boats, though the exact mix will be mission specific.
However, RC Squadrons will only have three companies each, with a focus on force protection. “The tyranny of time,” says Hamblet prevents reservists from carrying out extensive live firepower training that riverine forces require to become proficient.
Current holdings of CRF are thought to number six Riverine Command Boats (RCB) that are based on the Swedish CB-90, eighteen 39-foot Riverine Patrol Boats (RPB) – both built by Safeboats, and twelve 33-foot Riverine Assault Boats (RAB) built by USMI. These are all flat bottomed, shallow draft brown water craft with limited open sea capability. In addition to the riverine craft, there are around 160 MESF craft comprising one hundred and twenty 34-foot Sea Arks and more than forty 25-foot Safeboats patrol boats for use in the green water zone.
CORIVFOR plans to procure additional craft in the future. NAVSEA recently awarded Safeboats a GSA Schedule contract to build five (plus one option) Mk VI patrol boats valued at about $35 million to fulfill a Force Protection-Coastal combatant craft requirement. It is understood that up to 48 Mk VI are envisaged.
Contracted deliveries are to begin in fiscal year 2013, with fleet initial operational capability planned in fiscal year 2014, says NAVSEA spokeperson Chris Johnson, adding that, “The MK VI will be the Navy’s first true patrol boat introduced since the mid 1980s, tracing its lineage to the MK III and MK IV PBs, and with significantly more capabilities than its predecessors.”
“These new craft will give us the ability to operate 24 hours at a time in heavier sea states with two crews for sustained operations without returning to base. It offers the right combination of speed, protection and firepower” says NECC’s Lt. Cmdr. John Gay
The MK VI PB is an 85-foot craft arranged with pilothouse, flying bridge, main deck cabin and below deck accommodations. The vessel accommodates up to 10 crewmen and 8 passengers. Powered by two Hamilton HM 651 waterjets driven by two MTU 16V 2000 M94 diesels rated at 4900 hp total installed power, these boats are designed to cruise at around 27 knots, with sprint speeds of up to 41 knots.