With all the boats coming out for consideration, I have done my best to pick them apart from the offerings that my esteemed bretheren have posted. Not to say they are bad boats but I'm just the kind of guy that picks things apart and looks at all aspects of a commitment to a boat.
The STAB concept was basically an invention of a backyard folly in San D, years ago, so Throwing your ideas on the table here may not be as far -fetched as you think.
Riverine, Coastal or combined capabilities of both would be the considerations. Let it rip and see what we can come up with. You never know, with the cobined brain matter available in here, not to mention the experiance of four decades behind us, we might actually come up with the ultimate boat.
Let the games begin!
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D-6 before we get into that shouldn't we get mission specific for the boat????
Coastal patrol and Interdiction.
Special Operations Support
Really, one boat to do it all has never worked well in the past. or even adding on missions.
I remember when they took us off the PTFs when they were getting rid of them. They had a replacement for them called SEA WOLF on Paper..... never built. So we went to the PBMKIII whos primary mission was Coastal Patrol and Interdiction. (It was the replacement for the PCF SwiftBoat) and the Staff Blessed us to do the PTF Mission as well. Long Range Special Operations..so we tried to do both, we up-gunned the boat which was fine, but for long range inserts and extractions....it didn't do well in rough seas or have the speed. and The SEALs were just miserable crowded on board for the long bouncing transits. We did the Ops but far from ideal for the Mission.
The PBMKIII did CP&I missions quite well for which she was designed for.
Go with what you know. I'm a Riverine guy with a bit of Coastal experiance. You, Seafox are basically the opposite. Actually the best dual purpose boat in the past, was a PCF. It did both jobs pretty good but was far from perfect for either missions. I think it is the closest the USN has come. There isn't one perfect boat although, each diffeing boat , I think we can all degree, should be able to give at least limited support in all 3 theaters of Coastal, Riverine, and Assault. Any boat that cannot accomodate troops is pretty limited as the ability to project the power of a Coastal/Riverine force inland is the stregth of the force. Yet, it still must perform duties of all facets of patrolling.
The PCF Swift boat was a off the shelf purchase for the Viet Nam war from a oil platfom crew boat design. It was militarized and away it went to war. PCFs did their mission under TF-115 coastal patrol and Interdiction with a good measure of Success. However, when they moved the PCFs Up river they started taking much more casualities. On the rivers the draft and screws were a major consideration and got fowled enough, They were loud on the rivers and VC heard them coming. Their Hi supertrcture was often higher than the river bank and could be seen coming giving the VC time to set ambushes..or to avoid contact.. again their high superstructure a easier target on a river. Aluminum construction and Not enough armor for crews.
D-6 Tell me about PCF Ops and PB ops on the Rivers down South. What were the assigned missions and considerations for Ops on River?
Here in Malta we've been driving PCFs inshore and offshore since they were donated in '71. Not perfect for the task and getting ready to retire this year but as tough as old boots.
The Perfect River Patrol Boat:
In My opinion( and I'm showing my age) Is the MKII PBR
Met its mission requirements in the USN from 1968 to at least 1998 a Good 30years service.
Venerable like the 50cal M2 machine..why replace a good thing.
Simple good hull design of fiberglass, and desposable hull.
Over the years I saw many changes
Weapons Ugrades, etc but still a simple MK1Mod0 simple boat.
Why not just keep the hull and up-grade to 21st Century standards in trons, weapons, armour engines and Jets.
such up-grades are not inconcievale in fact Up-graded PBRMKIIs are being used in Columbia.
Missions: River Patrol, River Escort, Waterborne Guard Post
secondary: with limited success SOF support. river assualt.
weaknesses: Mobility in Air and Ground transport.
In reply to this post by DeltaSix
Awesome! Two boats to talk about.
The PCF - Alot can be said about this old boat. My experiance with it shows that some of what Seafox says in in fact true. The screws, could be, at times, a disadvantage.Mostly in the area of damage sustained by underwater obstacles. This is why I beleive that Jets are employed on most combat craft world over. The advantage of the PCF was it's speed and potential firepower as well as heavy troop carrying and command and control capabilities. The disadvantage of noise was a bit of an issue but nothing compared to the MK III/IV PB's. I have seen them used in a fairly confined riverine environment and it aint pretty in any respect except for firepower. The high profile of the Mk 56 turrent was actually of great advantage in my old AO of Latin America primarily because the banks of the rivers are relatively high due to the cutting action of the water during the rainy season. The Mk 56 was able to, in most cases, have an uninterrupted arc of fire over the banks. The bow was high enough to minimize or eliminate the amount of effort for troops to negotiate the banks.
The PCF is definitley not a pooper and snooper but often, if the boogereaters know that your in town, and they always do the are on the lookout for you anyway. This was overcome somewhat by employing the tactic of Drift Patrol. Just get upriver during the day. then, just after dusk shut down the engines and let the current take you back down. Just have the boathooks ready to shove yourself off the inconveiniant bank or so and this was very effective for sneaking up on folks.
Our patrol composition was primarily, 2 PBR's and 1 PCF. This combination was extremely sound, tactically speaking. If sneaky confined stuff was done, the PBR's were the primary way to go If assault was the tasking, The PCF was king. During an assault, The PBR's would provide cover for the PCF. If Waterbourne Guardpost was the game, The PBR's would establish thier posts while the PCF would engage in drift patrols in the same arae or randomly just mill about smartly. Yes at times the OPFOR heard and even saw the PCF. That was the point. They would wait for it to pass then attempt to go about thier business only to be pounced on by the hidden PBR's.
This brings me to my first and true love, the MKII PBR. I concur with Seafoxes analysis. in a strictly riverine environment, the PBR, pound for pound, is a dream. It is the standard by which all jet-driven combat craft are judged or were for those of us old enough. The effectiveness of the boat, as with the PCF, was best in the company of the PCF itself. Unbeatable team in 95% of actual tactical use. The weaknesses of both boats were compensated and overcome by the other.
As Seafox pointed out on the PBR, both boats have mobility issues Best you can hope for regarding the PBR is a C-5 Galaxy. The PCF would need an amphib to move it. PBR's were floundering POS's at sea. Transiting in the coastal areas to get between AO's was a nightmare as far a transit time was concerned and if there was even moderate seas, the boats would wallow up swells like pigs. Weight distribution was extremely critical on a PBR. We used to have races after HVT's to get back to homeplate and get first dibs on the fuel pump. to get on step quickly, the engineer would scramble to the bow to get the boat on step faster to gain an advantage. the boats were, due to the technology at the time, underpowered and overweight. The Jacuzzi pumps were cast iron behemoths that took continuous tweeking of the wearplate to keep speed up.
All the firepower of the PBR was forsaken for mobility and speed of the PBL's. The PBL was everything the PBR's werent. Truely, the PBR became a dinosaur due to its weight to power ratio.
The SOC-R is the culmination or combination if you will of both the PBR and PBL. The one exception would be is that I am a strong proponent of outboard engines. Mostly due to the ability to quickly swap the engines out, get the boat operational and repair the down engine later. I told you I was a logistic and mobility geek! During my time, most O/B's were prop driven. Jet powered lower units were not known or common. I did, however requisition Jet-drive outboard for boston whalers I drove late in my career and they were great especially when jumping oil booms. Some would say that O/B's are vunerable. Yes unless modification were made. Ours were actually issued with flack portective covers we could slip over the engine. we were even considering a sort of reactive armor around the sides and back. Steel plates and angle iron. O/B's are much lighter than conventional engines as well. I think the biggest advantage of the SOC-R is the placement of the forward gunmounts. mounting them on the sides of the bow allows personnel to insert and extract quickly throught the centerline of the boat and allows the fwd gunners an arc of fire during extraction. I think centerline gunmounts are history unless future boats do what was similar on the PCF. Put them above and behind the coxswain.
In reply to this post by DeltaSix
Delta Six Back to the PBs in Panama give me alittle more detail How they were used on rivers.
Besides the large size and screws.
When trying o be quiet on the rivers at night: What measures were taken?
Did you have the clam shell mufflers on yours??
for my unit when oping up wth XI in the Mare is Sloughs we would run centerline engine only. Made it a pretty quite boat.
Along a coast line with center line only you couldn't hear it from shore. Itwas great for when a SEAL Zodiac crapped out and driftting and we had to sneak in and recover them
MKIV PB's had no clamshells on the exhaust. Centerline engine ops were pretty restricting , though quiet. Manueverability was severely hampered. Training in Gatun Lake, the PB's would fare better and could simulate larger rivers. However, for real world stuff,and deployments, the PB's stuck to coastal areas. Noise aside, the turning circle of a PB is just too large without major concentration on throttle manipulation. 68 ft is just to big except on the largest of rivers. Not only in manueverability, but it's difficult to hide.
In fact, I hate to say it, watching a PB operate out of its environment can be rather comical. The boys gave it a good go, I'd have to say. Keeping a boat under 50 ft is probably the best option when considering a riverine craft. I'm sure there have been vast improvements in muffling. Even the MKII PBR, though quieter than most still was a bit noisy. Your could here a PBR, but because the exhaust hit a 90 degree before exiting the system it hit directly on top of the water. You could here it, but you couldn't tell exactly where it was coming from. The Exhaust system was one of the best features of the boat.
Another issue with the PB was that the coxswain, usually the POIC, could not here the environment very well. The PCF had an issue with this but not as bad as the PB. you could open the doors and front window on the PCF and the engine and exhaust noise was far enough astern not to be an issue. Still, I will forever be a beleiver in an open conn. Even using listening devices suck due to the fact that ALL noises are picked up and are difficlut to interrogate.
The PB was equiped with FLIR, but, since it was directional, it was easy to defeat with training. I remember sliding into a PB's wake when they were passing. Although using FLIR, they never thought to direct it abaft of beam so, I got into a boarding position several time without even the aft gunner noticing. The system was probably best used while in a static position but, as mentioned before, you try to hide a PB without hours of prep and even then, The rap of a PBLs fiberglas bow into the aluminium side of the PB would sorta give it away.
The gun system pictured on the USN CB90, above the pilot house is a winner. Primarily because it maximized the feild of fire and also allows the weapon to be fired OVER the heads of friendlies. Kinda PCF style.
Your Right off course D-6 PBMKIII
and IVs just too big for anything but a big wide river.
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