Since 2020, the US Department of Defense (DoD) has been delivering Mark VI patrol boats and accompanying weapon systems to Ukraine under its Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

The DoD has added to this growing venture by contracting the original equipment manufacturer, Safe Boats International, with a $16m contract to procure and install four gun weapon systems onto the MK VI boats, and provide further training and spare parts.

Work will be performed in Tacoma, Washington, and is expected to be completed by June 2026. Foreign military sales (FMS) Ukraine funds in the amount of $16.2m will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.

The last time the DoD delivered gun weapon systems, training and spare parts for this platform to Ukraine was on 15 September 2022. At that time last year the cumulative value had reached $92.3m.

Eight patrol boats – the first six contracted in September 2021, and the second two in December 2021 – are due to be completed by March 2026. Ukraine is looking to procure up to 16 Mk VI patrol boats from the US at an estimated cost of $600 m via the FMS programme.

The Mark VI patrol boat is built by Safe Boats Intenrational. It is a shift in the US Navy’s focus from Cold War-era blue water engagements to placing importance on littoral water operations.

It was designed to replace the legacy Riverine Command Boat for open water and near shore operations, the Mark VI is larger, more survivable, and better equipped with modernized weapons, communications, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

Despite the name the craft is not a replacement for the Mark V from 1998-2012 in a special operations role.