The Navy Is Giving These Ships a New Lease on Life (And More Missions)

    Kris Osborn

    Security, North America

    Don’t count the Patrol Coastal boats out quite yet.

    The Navy is completing a host of sweeping modernization upgrades to its fleet of 14 Patrol Coastal (PC) boats by integrating new laser-guided weapons, communications technology, drone sensors and navigation systems to enable the ships to respond to newly emerging littoral and coastal area enemy attack possibilities.”This modernization consists of numerous upgrades that support coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance, which are important aspects of littoral operations outlined in the Navy’s maritime strategy,” Colleen O’Rourke, spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command, told Warrior Maven.

    The sweeping PC Boat modernization overhaul is intended to extend the service life of the 1990s-era PC boat fleet into the mid-2020s and beyond. The expected service life of a PC is roughly 30-years, O’Rourke said.

    Of greater importance than simple service life extension, quite possibly, is that the upgrades are aimed at enabling PCs to keep pace with fast-changing surface threats in areas such as piracy, mines, small boat attacks and potential long-range enemy attacks made possible by drones or modern sensors.

    In recent years, the Navy has been arming its fleet of PCs with Raytheon-built Griffin B surface-launched, laser-guided missiles able to hit targets at ranges up to 4 kilometers. The idea is to give the 179-foot long, shallow-water PCs the ability to destroy targets at ranges farther than their on-board guns can reach.

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