The US Navy has chosen shipbuilding company Metal Shark to develop near-coastal patrol vessels (NCPVs) for the US partner nations.

US-based Metal Shark was selected by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) from a field of six competing shipyards, and has subsequently received the $54m award through the US Department of Defense’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme.

The deal will see the shipbuilder construct up to thirteen 85ft-long Defiant-class welded aluminium cutters for the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and other US partner nations.

Metal Shark will also be responsible for delivering electro-optical infrared sensors, diagnostic equipment, in-country reactivation, crew familiarisation and test support to NCPV operators.

The new vessels are based on Damen Shipyards’ Stan Patrol 2606 design, and have been specially customised in order to address the NCPV programme's specific requirements.

The aluminium cutters can accommodate several mission profiles such as search and rescue, border patrol, police and customs duties, counter-narcotics operations, and securing waters of economic importance.

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"The Damen team has consistently provided us with outstanding technical support and their designs are thoroughly proven in service across a range of markets."

Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard said: “The NCPV award is the first result of a multi-year collaboration between Damen and Metal Shark.

“The Damen team has consistently provided us with outstanding technical support, their designs are thoroughly proven in service across a range of markets, and their global service network has proven to be a very powerful selling feature.”

Stan Patrol 2606 vessels are provided with optimised capabilities such as performance and seakeeping, larger payload capacities, economical operating costs and greater durability.

The NCPV fleet will be constructed at Metal Shark’s waterfront shipyard in Franklin, Louisiana.

Image: Near coastal patrol vessels. Photo: courtesy of Metal Shark Boats.