The US Navy has finalised a deal with SAFE Boats International (SBI) to purchase two Mk VI patrol boats (Mk VI PB).
The agreement exercises the options available on the second Mk VI procurement contract, which was awarded to SAFE Boats in mid-2014. With this order, SBI will build 12 Mk VI boats.
SBI initially received a contract in 2012 to supply six patrol boats to the navy. Last year, the navy signed a deal for additional four vessels with option for another two.
SBI Tacoma facility vice-president and general manager Hartwell Champagne said: "The Mk VI is proving to have an improved level of performance and capability for a broad range of missions and navy use.
"Mk VI is a very exciting programme for SAFE Boats and we look forward to its future."
Said to be the navy’s next-generation vessel, the Mk VI PB will complement the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s (NECC) fleet of combatant craft.
Operational commanders will deploy the vessels to patrol shallow littoral areas beyond sheltered harbours and bays, and less sheltered open water out to the departure sea area (DSA), for the protection of friendly and coalition forces and critical infrastructure.
Powered by twin diesel engines and water jets, the MkVI PB is designed to cruise at speeds of over 30k at full load, has ballistic protection, and can be armed with various crew-served and remotely operated weapons systems.
The 85ft-long boats are designed for optimal performance, fuel economy and firepower, and reduce total ownership cost (TOC) and manpower, while improving reliability and maintainability.
Image: An artistic view of MkVI patrol boat. Photo: courtesy of SAFE Boats International, LLC.