The US Navy has awarded shipbuilder Metal Shark a $29.8 million contract to build the first eleven of a new generation of patrol boats for the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command’s Coastal Riverine Forces (CRF).
The contract contains options which could see the shipbuilder build 50 boats for a price of $90.2 million. Metal Shark will also be delivering trailers, spares and training packages, and technical support.
Subject to annual appropriations, the navy intends to replace approximately 100 to 160 of its existing 25-foot and 34-foot CRF patrol boats with the larger and more modern PB(X) platform over the next fifteen years.
The PB(X) design is a 40-foot, welded-aluminum pilothouse patrol boat. It is powered by twin diesel inboards and water jets. Metal Shark say the moderate aft deadrise, wide-waterplane, sharp-entry hull form can achieve 35+ knot sprint speeds and offers enhanced handling and reduced operating cost at the 10-15 knot escort and cruise speeds. The PB(X) features ballistic protection and can be armed with a range of crew-served and remotely operated weapons systems.
“PB(X) was one of the most challenging and most sought-after U.S. military boat procurement opportunities in recent history; the result of a years-long process pitting Metal Shark’s engineering and manufacturing capabilities against multiple leading U.S. naval architect firms and nearly all of our competitors,” said Metal Shark’s CEO Chris Allard. “The award of PB(X) to Metal Shark is the result of a tremendous team effort and I couldn’t be more proud of our people.”
This is the second major U.S. Navy contract awarded to Metal Shark in 2017. In June, Metal Shark was selected to build up to thirteen Near Coastal Patrol Vessels (NCPVs), for the Navy. These 85’ patrol boats are being produced at Metal Shark’s Franklin, Louisiana waterfront shipyard.