Advanced Patrol Boat – A new idea for the navy
I am beginning he process of releasing most of my ideas to the general public. I’ll never be in a position to make use of them, maybe someone can. All I ask is that you give me some credit and, I expect a small royalty if you make any money off of it. Thank you.
APB (Advanced Patrol Boat)
It is possible to combine many naval roles into a small boat that is cheaper, more maneuverable, and more efficient than a larger naval vessel. While many long distance and long duration events must be handled by a large ship, many missions can be broken down into a series of smaller, short range, short duration events that can be handled more effectively by smaller vessels. This is especially true considering how the nature of warfare and navy roles have changed since World War II.
World War II Torpedo Boats (the famous PT boats) were, pound for pound, some of the most heavily armed vessels ever built. In addition to torpedoes, 25mm cannons, and heavy machine guns, crews would install light artillery pieces. All of these items were off-the-shelf (in some cases, off-the-tank) components that were attached to a fresh hull and sent into battle.
The Advanced Patrol Boat uses many off-the-shelf components to increase efficiency and decrease cost. The APB is also mission configurable. One boat can easily be altered to fulfill a large variety of roles based on mission modules. Instead of having a dedicated Special Forces boat and a dedicated ASW platform and a dedicated surface attack platform, one APB can be used in all of these roles, in most cases within a few hours of each other.
The APB is based on the already in production MkV Special Operations Craft hull. Changes to the base hull to allow for various mission modules and increase the number of roles of the craft while retaining the cost effectiveness of the hull. The hull would remain air and highway transportable.
Changes to the basic hull are confined to the following:
1) redesign of the rear 20 feet of the hull to allow for large modules
2) redesign of the superstructure to allow for small modules to be fitted behind the cockpit/bridge area.
3) Addition of 4 hard points on the hull
The rear mounted large module bay is specifically designed for systems that need access to water (dipping sonar, Special Forces boat launchers), could induce a shock to the boat (Harpoon launchers), or need a large area (cargo/fuel). The small module bay would be mounted behind the bridge and contain smaller, units that need 360 degree access (cannon, AA weapons). The four hardpoints allow additional weapons or support systems to be used without taking up valuable deck or interior space.
An additional change would massively increase the effectiveness of the entire system. Altering a landing ship (San Antonio class for example) to store and launch these vessels would turn them from a coastal patrol boat to a blue water mini-ship. The landing ship would become a carrier vessel.
The base APB would retain the physical characteristics and specifications of the MkV SOC. Approximately 90ft long with a 18 ft beam. Twin diesel power waterjets provide a cruise speed of about 30 knots and a top speed approaching 45 knots and a maximum range of about 500 nautical miles.
Mission modules would be totally modular and changeable in a minimum amount of time with a crane and the boat crew. Module packages would be available to change the role of the patrol boat to any of the following: ASW, AA, Surface Attack, Special Forces Support, Transport, Close Assault and Boarding (anti-pirate), even a refueling package to support longer duration missions of other boats in the squadron. Specific packages and options as follows.
Harpoon Module – this module fits in the large bay and contains two 4-rack harpoon anti-ship missiles. The missiles can take fire direction from another vessel or the long-range radar module. No new equipment would be required for this module.
Dipping Sonar – this module uses a helicopter dipping sonar on a movable A-frame mount and fits in the large bay. Depending on the final size and mass of the sonar and equipment, a small number of sonobouys may be included with this module.
Boat Launching System – this retains the basic function of the MkV SOC. Offering space for the launch and support system for SEAL small insertion craft.
Cargo Rack – this fits in the large bay and simply turns the boat into a high-speed, light cargo vessel. An optional fuel bladder and refueling system allows for during mission refueling of other APBs. An additional modification would allow for the carrying of a single hummer, which could be landed close ashore in many conditions.
Torpedo Tubes – 4 externally mounted torpedoes can be fitted to the hull hardpoints. These may be dedicated ASW or anti-ship torps.
Depth Charges – depth charges may be mounted on the four hardpoints in a specially designed launcher. 2-3 charges may be on each hardpoint for up to 12 depth charges.
Sonobuoys – the 4 hardpoints may contain sonobuoy launchers. Each hardpoint could hold 10-15 sonobuoys in a revolving drum launcher for a total of 40-60 sonobuoys.
Drop Tanks – each hardpoint can be fitted with a 350 gallon fuel tank for an additional 1400 gallons of fuel. The range of the vessel at cruise would increase from 550nm to over 800 nm.
Radar Balloon – the small bay can be fitted with a radar balloon system. A radar is attached to a heavy balloon and a large winch can extend and pull in the system. Included in the module are the helium containers.
Naval M242 – the naval version of the bushmaster 25mm cannon with variable AP and HE shells.
AA Missiles – a naval AA missile such as a naval version of the stinger-based Avenger mount or the UK Starstreak. This will need to be a light, short range weapon, but capable of anti-cruise missile fire as well as anti-aircraft and anti-helicopter.
Crane – a light hydraulic crane for cargo transfer.
Ideally, much like current MkV SOC, these vessels would operate in pairs. Several obvious configurations present themselves.
ASW Team – two vessels, one with a dipping sonar and torpedoes/charges/sonobuoys and the other with the large bay fuel storage system and torpedoes/charges/sonobuoys. If the pair is operating under aircover, then the small bay can be left empty for additional fuel economy. Alternately one vessel can carry a light anti-air system while the other carries the M242.
Anti-Surface Team – both vessels would be equipped with harpoon racks in the large bay, one unit would have the radar balloon in the small bay while the other would have light anti-air. Hull hardpoints can be left empty or equipped with fuel tanks for extended attack range and speed. Alternately, torpedoes could be added for close range anti-ship work.
Special Ops/CAB Team – both vessels would be equipped with boat launchers in the large bay and M242 cannons in the small bay. No hardpoints would be used to increase speed, range, and survivability if attacked.
These are just basic configurations. The combinations are large and would be determined on an as needed basis.
Each bay and hardpoint will have standard power/data hookups so that any equipment installed will have sufficient power and command and control. Ammunition for all weapons will be on-board the mount rather than the boat to simplify the supply situation. This does limit available ammunition, but improves operational efficiency as a whole.
An amphibious assault ship, with minor modifications, could act as a patrol boat carrier, holding many of the APBs. Since each boat is about the same length, but half the width of a LCAC, a ship that can carry 4 LCACs can carry eight APBs with no modifications. By removing vehicle storage and some marine quarters, the ship could carry more APBs. While this would reduce the ship’s role as an amphibious landing ship, it would increase the ship’s abilities in other areas tremendously. The boat carrier would have extensive anti-sub, anti-surface, and anti-air abilities. In addition, the ability to carry out multiple special ops landings anywhere in the world would be a significant advantage.
Another minor modification to the boat carrier would be internal cranes and pallets for storing modules and consumables.
Command and control would be handled primarily, by the ship or shore station from which the APBS launched, however, local, low-power, high band-width networks would allow boats to use unified sensor data, much like IVIS does for land vehicles. This will allow one vessel to be the search vessel, while the others act as remote fire locations. Also, using multiple sensor data from widely separated boats will allow for faster and more accurate locating of submerged vessels. It will also allow for better coordination of Special Forces landings, pickups, and diversions.
Many of the systems used in this proposal are off the shelf systems. The dipping sonar can come from any helicopter system. The AA missiles come from the Army Avenger system (This has the additional benefit of being a system that special forces are already familiar with.) The naval M242 is already in use.