US Navy trains with new Mark VI patrol boats

Coastal Riverine Squadron Four (CRS-4) conducted well deck operations with the Mark VI patrol boat for the first time aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) May 15.

Two Mark VI boats demonstrated their capabilities by mooring and launching multiple times from the well deck of Bataan, accomplishing a major milestone for the craft.

The first operational Mark VI arrived in Bahrain as part of U.S. 5th Fleet. Once deployed, CRS-4 will utilize the Mark VI to conduct maritime security missions throughout the Arabian Gulf.

American aluminum boat manufacturer Safe Boats delivered first Mark VI boat to the Navy in August, 2014 while the Coastal Riverine Group 2 received their first two boats in September 2015.

The two vessels that recently trained with USS Bataan are the third and fourth vessels in the class. The navy will initially procure 10 boats and the fleet expansion is expected to start in 2018.

The Mark VI is an 85-foot patrol craft fitted with a Mark 38 25mm gun on the bow, and an ability to reach speeds in excess of 35 knots. The craft will provide the Navy the continued ability to patrol waterways for the purpose of protecting coalition forces and vital infrastructure.

Deck Department Division Officer Ensign Michael Klooster, from Cummings, Georgia was excited to train with CRS-4.

“This is the second time Mark VI patrol boats have ever done well deck operations and the first time conducting operations with an LHD-class amphibious warfare ship.” 

“The Mark VI patrol boats are extremely cool pieces of machinery; they are extremely useful to the Navy’s warfighting mission,” said Kloster.

According to Klooster, the boats are versatile enough to fit inside the well deck; thus, they can be transported to any location in a short period of time. The crafts are also provided with kickstands to help deck department when conducting boat operations.

The Coastal Riverine Force (CRF) operates in harbors, rivers, bays across the littorals and ashore. The primary mission of CRF is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending high value assets, critical maritime infrastructure, ports and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways against enemies and when commanded conduct offensive combat operations.