Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Riverine I.

This is coolbert:

"Rebuilding the riverine fleet"

The U.S. Navy IS currently deploying and using riverine vessels in Iraq. For use on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

These are “brown water” vessels originally developed for the U.S. Marines. “Donated” to the Navy, only coming into usage this very spring, FOUR YEARS after the beginning of the conflict in Iraq!

The SURC. Small Unit Riverine Craft. In the inventory of the Marines for some time now. Features a ramp, enclosed helm and control room, radar, remote controlled weapon of some sort [.50 caliber machine gun or 40 mm grenade launcher??]. Can carry up to fifteen combat troops. Is capable of high-speed operation, shallow draft, and is highly maneuverable! IS NOT armored!

Small Unit Riverine Craft

At this very moment are being used for patrolling and special operations type missions?!

As seen by the U.S. Navy, the SURC is NOT the be-all and end-all for future riverine operations.

“Brown-water” naval operations ARE very much on the mind of U.S. Navy planners.

Naval “futurists” see a definite need NOW for a much more robust and capable vessel than the SURC!

"When Navy leaders talk about the places NECC units will go — South America, Africa and other parts of Asia come up time and again — they invariably mention places with shallow water where the gray-hull Navy can’t operate."

"A small boat such as the SURC, effective in constricted rivers, may not be the best vessel for big, wide-open rivers with strong currents."

[especially for operations on rivers prone to flooding during the "wet" season. Main body of a river becomes an inland sea and tributaries themselves become substantial rivers also.]

Other designs are called for. Small river craft with considerable capability, possessing better features, durability under rougher conditions, and MORE organic firepower!!

What the U.S. Navy sees as the trend in current riverine operations is fast, maneuverable, modern, sleek designs in contrast to the plodding, armored, but still very formidable water-craft as used by American riverine units in Vietnam.

Among the most modern designs suitable for riverine units is the U.S. made Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft.

Joint Multimission Expeditionary Craft

ACB's design is "intended for an array of uses":

* 41 feet long.
* 9-foot-11-inch beam.
* draft of only 28 inches.
* two Cummins QSC 8.3-liter, 540 HP turbocharged diesel engines.
* top speed of 48 miles per hour.
* crew of four.
* two observers.
* 14-member combat team or various cargoes up rivers or streams.
* intended for reconfiguration depending on the mission.
* a bow ramp.
* armed with a remote controlled minigun.

A Swedish designed small boat also has gotten good reviews from the U.S. Navy. Highly thought of for innovative design with a lot of capability for "brown-water" type operations. Called the Riverine Command Boat [RCB].

"One boat that has caught the Navy’s eye is the CB90 series. Built by Safeboat, of Port Orchard, Wash., it’s based on a Swedish design that has proven very popular with military forces around the world"

A multi-dimensional vessel that can perform a lot of small boat missions.

"operate as a fast attack boat, patrol boat and special operations support vessel"

"the Riverine Command Boat - - "armed troop transport"

* 18 seats in an air-conditioned cabin.
* sealed off from chemical, nuclear and biological contamination.
* cabin can be reconfigured as a floating command post.
* a waterborne ambulance.
* a mortar pit. [AMOS]

Performance is impressive:

* 40 knots.
* carries enough fuel to go 430 miles.
* a bow ramp.
* controlled by joystick.
* video monitoring system.
* carries 21 armed soldiers.
* up to 4.5 tons of cargo.
* two waterjet propulsion units.
* each powered by a 460 kW diesel engine.
* Long Range Acoustic Device.

Weaponry is mission task selected and can include:

* a remote-operated .50-caliber machine gun. [Heavy machine guns are mounted in fixed installations, or stabilized and remotely controlled from a monitor in the wheelhouse.]
* LRAD also can focus a powerful beam of sound as a weapon.
* mines.
* Hellfire missiles [guided by a UAV mounted laser designator?].
* gyro-stabilized twin-barrel 12-cm mortar. [AMOS] [recall that AMOS fires a precision-guided-munition round!]

The modern riverine boat is fast, very maneuverable, versatile, muti-dimensional, task tailored for mission. AND, for the cost [$3 billion] of a modern DD(X) destroyer, you could buy hundreds of these craft!! Swarm over your enemies like gnats on a buffalo!




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