Metal Shark to begin production of next-generation US Navy Patrol Boat

Shipbuilder Metal Shark and the US Navy are nearing the end of the operational test and evaluation (OT&E) trial period for the Navy’s incoming standardized “40 PB” patrol boat platform, and full-rate production is now imminent.

Metal Shark to begin production of next generation US Navy Patrol Boat 925 001 Metal Shark’s 40 Defiant (Picture source: Metal Shark)

Developed as the replacement for up to 160 patrol vessels deployed worldwide with Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Coastal Riverine Forces (CRF), Metal Shark’s 40 Defiant design was selected in late 2017 from a field of seven competing shipbuilders.

As OT&E trials near completion, Metal Shark is preparing to commence full-rate production at its Jeanerette, Louisiana production facility. With a full slate of delivery orders in place, Metal Shark initially plans to deliver one completed unit to the Navy every four weeks.

Metal Shark satisfied the Navy’s visual-deterrent requirements with a futuristic design featuring a chiseled and menacing profile and unique faceted hull. The vessel flaunts its capability and bristles with armament. As configured for the Navy, the vessel features six MK 16 weapons foundations plus a large forward foundation for stabilized, remote operated, optically guided MK 49 / MK 50 weapons systems.

The platform includes foundations for MK 16 weapons and remote-operated, optically-guided MK 49 / MK 50 weapons systems. Furthermore, the boat is fitted with ballistic protection systems to sustain firefights and provide protection against hostile fire. The system allows the crew to respond to swarm attacks.

The armoured, climate-controlled pilothouse has been configured to accommodate a crew of five in SHOXS 4800-series whole-body isolation suspension seats. The vessel delivers enhanced situational awareness and fleet connectivity through an advanced communications and sensor suite.

The versatility of the new platform will allow the Navy to expand the mission profile of the CRF patrol boats. The new vessels operate in permissive environments during asset protection and port security missions, but may also make forays into hostile environments, and therefore carry a power projection capability far beyond that of a traditional force protection boat.

As configured for the Navy, the 40 Defiant is powered by twin Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel inboards, coupled via Twin Disc MG5065SC marine transmissions to Hamilton HTX30 water jets developed specifically for the Navy 40 PB program.

The vessel’s mission-optimized hull form has been designed to achieve 40-knot sprint speeds while displaying superb dynamic stability across the full range of operating environments, while also delivering enhanced handling and greatly reduced operating cost at the 10-15 knot escort speeds where the vessel will spend the bulk of its operational life.