The US Navy is testing the newly arrived, heavily armed Riverine Coastal Command Boat (CCB), in the Persian Gulf.
Built by US-based SAFE Boats International, the new 65ft-long, 50t CCB resembles the company's larger MarkVI patrol boats, and will be used to assess new operating concepts.
Steered using a joystick, the new craft can accommodate a crew of ten, and can cruise at a top speed of 35k.
Task Force 56 commodore captain Joseph DiGuardo said: "There are lots of concepts we're trying to prove out here."
Featuring an armoured citadel enclosing the propulsion plant and fuel tanks, the CCB also integrates several automatic and crew-served weapons on its topside, including .50-calibre machine guns.
Intended to function as a platform for a range of unmanned vehicles, including Puma UAVs, the vessel also integrates structures on the fantail and a small handling crane to handle two 800lb mine-detection vehicles.
Task Force 56, which plans to operate the CCB in a variety of scenarios around the Gulf region, will also test weapons, such as Griffin and Spike missiles, on the vessel.
The vessel, which will be returned to the US upon the arrival of the MarkVI boats, can also launch small rubber rafts on the step-down stern, while divers have access off the fantail or on either side amidships.
The 85ft MarkVI vessels, which integrate two Mark38 stabilised 25mm machine gun mounts, are designed to engage with hostile-fast attack craft.
Image: The Coastal Command Boat is being used to assess new operating concepts until the arrival of the MarkVI. Photo: courtesy of the US Navy by mass communication specialist 2nd class Shannon M. Smith/Released.