Hello, Iran! U.S. Navy’s Fearsome New War Boat Arrives in the Persian Gulf
Sole Coastal Command Boat joins Persian Gulf maritime security force
The Navy’s new—and so far only—gun-armed, robot-hauling war boat arrived in Bahrain on Feb. 8. The 65-foot, 50-ton-displacement Coastal Command Boat is assigned to Task Group 56.7, America’s patrol force in the Persian Gulf.
The CCB entered Navy service last fall after two years of construction in Bremerton and Tacoma, both in Washington State.
The CCB can reach speeds of more than 35 knots and is equipped with remote-controlled and crew-served weapons and gear for launching drones. It’s able to motor into and out of the floodable well decks of large amphibious assault ships, which can haul the boat between oceans and war zones.
Small for a warship but huge for a war boat, the CCB is ideal for patrols near Iran, a country with which Washington maintains a delicate relationship—firm but polite, as negotiations continue over Tehran’s suspected nuclear weapons program.
CTG 56.7 protects so-called “strategic shipping,” which includes commercial oil tankers and U.S. naval vessels. This means guarding ships in port against potential terrorist attacks like the one that severely damaged the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 sailors.
It also means patrolling Persian Gulf shipping routes to make sure friendly ships get from point A to point B undisturbed.
Previously, CTG 56.7 had only smaller patrol craft. The Navy sent the CCB to Bahrain to expand the task group’s ability to conduct blue water operations farther from shore.
The CCB should eventually be joined in Bahrain by Mk. VI patrol boats being built by Safe Boats International. These new craft, 80 feet in length, will further expand CTG 56.7's ability to patrol the Gulf.
The deployment follows Iran’s announcement that it’s sending warships near U.S. waters. In the past, Tehran has threatened to close or block the Strait of Hormuz—the entrance to the Persian Gulf—in response to U.S. sanctions. American warships got into a brief altercation with Iranian patrol craft near the Strait in 2008.
The U.S. and Iran came to blows in the Persian Gulf in the late 1980s. Craft like the CCB—subtle but heavily armed and always on patrol—are America’s way of preventing, or at least preparing for, a repeat of those clashes.