Swiftships’ 35-meter coastal patrol boat (CPB) contracts are part of a larger program that’s also delivering spare parts, guns, ammunition, training, naval simulators and infrastructure to the Umm Qasr Naval Base in southern Iraq. That total program for the Iraqi Navy was the country’s 3rd largest foreign military sale case, according to the Pensacola Council of the Navy League’s Bullhorn newsletter. That’s probably an appropriate priority level, as Iraq seeks to monitor and protect its southern oil export infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the US Army Corps of Engineers is partnering with Iraq by managing a $53 million pier and seawall project. This set of projects in southern Iraq will provide the Iraqi Navy with new port facilities as it continues to expand its military naval capabilities – but in the end, it all comes down to boats on the water, manned by well trained crews. The Swiftships are currently the medium tier of those capabilities.
In terms of Iraq’s current capabilities, Iraq’s Swiftships will sit between in Fincantieri’s 53.4m/ 175 foot Fatah/Diciotti Class Ocean Patrol Vessels, and smaller boats used for confined coastal and riverine work.
The original Swiftship Interceptor design was a 40+ knot high-speed, waterjet-powered 35 meter patrol boat for a Central American county, but it’s still awaiting funding. The “gray hull” picture here is a slower version that was produced for another country Swiftships declined to name, and the green Fort Jefferson that headlines this article is a propeller-driven derivative of that variant.
The Iraqis specified that they wanted propellers, so their Swift Interceptor patrol boats are closer to the Fort Jefferson than to the “haze grey” picture. Other differences from the photographs here will include moving the upper bridge forward; armoring on the lower bridge, upper bridge, and bridge wings; and armaments. Armament will includes the 30mm MSI deck gun system forward, a .50 cal machine gun aft on the 01 level, and 7.62 machine guns on the bridge wings. Northrop Grumman’s Sperry Marine provides the integrated Bridge, CIC, and Radio Room equipment.
Swiftships Model 35PB1208 E-1455 specifications include:
Hull Length: 115′-0″ / 35.06 m
Beam: 23′ 9-1/2″ / 7.25 m
Max Draft (Navigational): 8′-6″ / 2.59 m
Depth (Midship): 11′-10″ / 3.61 m
Engine Package: 3 MTU 16V2000 Marine Diesels
Propulsors: 3 Propellers
ABS Classification: A1-HSNC-Coastal Naval Craft – AMS.
Water Capacity: 1000 Gallons / 3,785 Liters
Fuel Capacity: 7,000 Gallons / 26,495 Liters
Maximum Range: 1,500 Nautical Miles @ 12 knots
Endurance: 6 Days
Accommodations: 21 Crew, 4 Officers
Carries: RIB Willard aluminum hull high-speed 7 meter jet Rigid Inflatable Boat
Armament: MSI International DS30M-A2 30mm remotely-operated gun system, .50 cal/ 12.7mm machine gun, 2 x 7.62 machine guns.
MSI’s 30mm RWS system will be very consequential. As South Korea has proven several times, a patrol boat equipped with a main gun that integrates advanced sensors, ballistic computing, and RWS control will severely punish or sink enemy vessels that depend on hand-aimed guns of similar or greater calibers.
This triple-screw diesel-powered patrol boat can be refueled at sea using side by side procedures, and runs on #2 diesel fuel. The hull and superstructure are constructed of aluminum alloy, all welded, in accordance with approved codes. The hull includes 7 watertight bulkheads forming 8 watertight compartments. The superstructure has an enclosed upper bridge with open bridge wings for armament and navigation capability, with an enclosed pilothouse forward.
The boat can comfortably undertake at-sea missions for up to 6 days, with an expected operational time of about 1,500 hours of operation per year. Weather survivability includes Sea State 5 survival at the best heading, and full operational capability at Sea State 3, including 20 knot patrol speed and 10 knot sustained loitering speed for 12 hours. In calm water the boat is reasonably fast, 30 knots (about 34.5 mph/ 55.5 kmh) maximum speed at full load.
Swiftships has built similar boats for other national security customers.
The comparable Fort Jefferson was built for the US National Park Service as a top end crew boat with both visitor berthing and cargo capacity, to operate out of Key West FL. It supports the Park on the Dry Tortugas. Shortly after Fort Jefferson’s delivery, however, the USCG encountered serious problems with its newly recondition and stretched Island Class Coast Guard Patrol Boats. Those ships would end up being scrapped, and to cover the gap, the USCG borrowed the Fort Jefferson and used her as a US Coast Guard patrol boat for some time.
Egypt operates a smaller coastal patrol type, the Swift Protectors. Swiftships describes these 6 boats as “the baby sisters of the 35 meter design,” as they were designed later than their larger brethren. Those 25 meter Egyptian craft use waterjets that push them to 40 knots, and have a crew of 12 rather than 25.
Contracts and Key Events
2011 – 2014
All boats delivered; Post-delivery support.
All contracts are managed by US Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC, on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale clients in Iraq. The contractor is small business qualifier Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC in Morgan City, LA.
Sept 22/14: Support. A maximum $18 million contract to provide Iraq with provide technical expertise in preventative and planned maintenance, emergent repairs, and platform overhaul support services for Iraqi patrol boats, off-shore vessels, and defender boats. Half of the funds are committed immediately.
Work will be performed on Umm Qasr Naval Base, Iraq, and is expected to be complete by October 2015. Since Iraq chose its builder and service provider, this contract was not competitively procured pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(4), and FAR 6.302-4(a)(2). US Navy NAVSEA in Washington, DC acts as Iraq’s FMS agent (N00024-14-C-4217).
July 5/13: Final delivery. The US Navy delivers PB 312, Iraq’s final 35-meter Swiftship patrol boat, to the Umm Qasr naval facility, after successfully completing reactivation in Bahrain.
This seems to establish that the announced orders for 9 and then 3 more are the only orders placed to date.
NAVSEA is the listed agent, and their Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships Support Ships, Boats and Craft Program Office has managed the buy as a foreign military sales case. They also delivered 2 60-meter offshore support vessels to the Iraqi navy on Dec 20/12. US Navy.
Nov 3/11: #6 Delivery. The US Navy formally delivers the 6th 35-meter patrol boat [P-305] to the Iraqi navy at their Umm Qasr facility, a week ahead of schedule.
P-305 began its journey via barge from Amelia, LA, to Beaumont, TX. The boat was loaded aboard MV Ocean Charger for shipment to Bahrain, where she successfully completed reactivation on Oct 23/11. The next coastal patrol craft is scheduled to deliver to Iraq in December 2011. US Navy | US MSC.
Sept 29/11: Training. Small business qualifier VSD, LLC in Virginia Beach, VA receives a $6.9 million firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for security training and services in support of the Iraqi patrol boat and offshore support vessel training systems located in Umm Qasr, Iraq. Services to be provided include refurbishment, delivery, installation, testing, train the trainer course of instruction, and logistics support. the goal is to support the hand-over of security responsibilities from the maritime coalition forces to the Iraqi Navy.
Work will be performed in Virginia Beach, VA (49.5%); Houma, La. (29%); Umm Qasr, Iraq (19%); and Hitchcock, TX (2.5%), and is expected to be complete in June 2014. All contract funds will expire at the end of the fiscal year, which is Sept 30/11. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 by the US Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61340-11-C-0035).
June 9/11: US Navy:
“A crane loads two U.S.-built patrol boats [P-304 and P-306] onto the Maritime Administration Ready Reserve Force roll-on/roll-off ship MV Cape Trinity, which Military Sealift Command activated for a month-long voyage from Houston to Bahrain. The boats are intended for use by the Iraqi navy…”
March 21/11: A $42.2 million contract modification for 3 more 35m patrol boats, with an option for 3 more, plus associated technical services for the Iraqi navy. If all 6 boats and all services are ordered, the cumulative value of this contract modification rises to $83.5 million, and Iraqi Navy orders will stand at 21 boats.
Work will be performed in Morgan City, LA (60%); Detroit, MI (30%); Ocean Springs, MS (8%); and Charlottesville, VA (2%), and is expected to be complete by August 2012 (N00024-09-C-2256).
3-6 more ordered
Jan 26/11: #2 & 3 Delivery. P-302 and P-303 arrive in Iraq. A total of 12 more Swift-class Patrol Boats are being built under contract in Morgan City, LA, and all are still scheduled to arrive in Iraq by 2012. Pentagon DVIDS.
Jan 6-7/11: On Iraqi National Army Day, P-301 under “Lieutenant Abdul” performs an independent 24 hour patrol of the waters surrounding the Al Basrah Oil Terminal. The Iraqi Navy had planned the patrol on its own, and in advance of the first operational patrol the crew had to complete a final sea assessment conducted by a joint Iraqi and coalition team. They reportedly passed with flying colors, and proceeded on patrol immediately.
The British Royal Navy has been training the Iraqi Navy in Umm Qasr as part of a coalition training team since 2004. Most recently they have been supporting the Iraqi Navy by delivering Swift patrol boat training and mentoring the future Iraqi Navy training staff. USF-I says the remaining boats of this class will arrive over the next 18 months. UK MoD | United States Forces-Iraq.
2008 – 2010
From orders to initial deliveries.
Dec 22/10: #2 Delivery. The US Military Sealift Command-chartered heavy lift crane ship MV Ocean Titan delivers Iraq’s 2nd Swift Ship to Manama, Bahrain. Because the boat was designed to operate within 200 miles from shore, it was not equipped to make the more than 11,000-mile, open-ocean voyage on its own power. MSC headquarters’ Sealift Program received the requirement to transport the Iraqi patrol boat on Oct 7/10, and awarded the contract for the lift to the 390-foot Ocean Titan on Oct 19/10.
While the patrol boat is in Bahrain, a team of personnel from the U.S. Navy’s Program Executive Office Ships and Swift Ships, Inc. will complete work on it, before sailing it to Iraq for turnover to the Iraqi navy. MSC will deliver the 3rd patrol boat in early 2011, which puts them slightly behind schedule. US MSC.
Sept 26/10: In a ceremony at Umm Qasr Naval Base, the first 35 meter Swiftship boat “PB 301” is formally welcomed into the Iraqi Navy. It was deemed important enough that Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader Obeidi, USF-Iraq Deputy Commanding General, Advising and Training Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, and US NAVSEA Vice Adm. Kevin McCoy. As part of the ceremony, Iraqi Navy SEALs showed off “stop and search” skills aboard a demonstration vessel, and 177 naval cadets graduated from officer training to become lieutenants.
Another 3 boats are reportedly set to arrive in December 2010, with the remaining 11 due for delivery in 2011. The existing patrol vessel will join the rest of the Navy in its primary tasks: on-site and perimeter defense for the Khor al-Amiya oil terminal, and on-site defense of the Al-Basra oil terminal. Pentagon DVIDS | Agence France Presse, via Defense News.
1st delivery in Iraq
July 30/10: The first patrol boat is loaded for transit to Iraq. Source.
June 16/10: Training. Pentagon DVIDS publishes pictures of training in the USA:
“Rear Adm. Jeffery “Scott” Jones, director, Coalition Naval Advisory Transition Team Mission (left) and Commodore Muneer Saddam from the Iraqi navy, walk alongside the 35-meter patrol boat that Iraqi sailors are being trained to operate and maintain. The Iraqi navy will take possession of the boat in late summer 2010. The training is being coordinated through Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Naval Sea Systems Command, and Swiftships Shipbuilding.”
See also a later article in Gannett’s Navy Times.
May 31/10: Testing. Live-fire testing of the gun systems is complete. Source.
May 20/10: Delivery. The 1st of 15 Swiftship patrol boats is delivered in Morgan City, Louisiana. The P-301 will now be stationed at Swiftships’ Training Village, where it will remain until the first group of Iraqi sailors complete training in July 2010. The first 2 patrol boats will then be shipped to Iraq. MarineLog.
May 7/10: Testing. The first boat completes sea trials. Source
March 31/10: sub-contractors. Ceradyne, Inc., in conjunction with Turner Strategic Technologies LLC in Virginia Beach, VA announces an estimated $3.5-$6.0 million contract to supply and install of protective armor around the command station of 9 new 35-meter Swiftships patrol vessels. The exact amount will depend on which options are exercised.
Dec 7/09: Sub-contractors. VSD, LLC announces a sub-contract from Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC to provide the Iraqi Navy with over 23 million in training and training systems. VSD, LLC will develop and deliver training, and manage the team of contractors in the development of the training systems. Those systems will include a Full Mission Bridge Trainer, a Small Arms Trainer, and a Fire Fighting Trainer. The firm will oversee the training of approximately 100 Iraqi sailors in Morgan City, LA over the next year.
Other team members involved in this effort include Q.E.D. Systems, Inc., based in Virginia Beach, and Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems Division in Ocean Springs, MS. VSD expects that more than 15 new full-time jobs will be created by this effort in its Virginia Beach area, and more than 30 new full-time positions overall. Managing Director Chuck Wythe does sound a note that’s both porud and cautionary, however, when he says that:
“This program is extraordinarily fast-paced and there is little room for error in execution. I am especially proud of all the work the team has put in to achieve the impossible in getting this program underway within the time constraints that were imposed.”
Oct 1/09: Training. Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC in Morgan City, LA receives a $23.6 million firm-fixed-price contract to provide 35-meter patrol boat training in support of the Iraqi Navy. Training will involve the use of simulators, the provision of spare parts, patrol boat training inclusive of course development, execution of the training curricula, and other incidentals such as berthing and messing for Iraqi sailors.
Work will be performed in Morgan City, LA, and is expected to be complete in September 2010. All contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured by the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division in Orlando, FL (N61339-09-C-0034).
Sept 25/09: Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC in Morgan City, LA receives a sole source $181 million fixed-price letter contract for the detail design and construction of 9 patrol boats, 6 30mm DS30M-A2 gun systems from MSI Defence Systems in Norfolk, UK; plus machine gun mounts and cradles, spare parts, and contractor engineering technical services.
This contract is in support of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Case IQ -P-SAZ and U.S. Case E4-P-LBT. Funds for 6 of the boats comes from the Iraqi Security Force Funds (ISFF) appropriated in the FY 2007 war supplemental. The ISFF program manages the purchase of defense equipment for Iraq.
Swiftships will perform the work in Morgan City, LA (60%); Detroit, MI (30%); Ocean Springs, MS (8%); and Charlottesville, VA (2%) and expects to complete it by August 2012. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) manages the contract (N00024-09-C-2256).
9 boats ordered
July 2/09: US Navy Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announces via FedBizOpps that it intends to issue solicitation N00024-09-R-2256 on a sole-source basis to Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC of Morgan City, LA to provide the Iraqi Navy a fully capable and sustainable maritime security patrol boat fleet of up to 15 Coastal Patrol Boats (CPBs).
Swiftships Shipbuilders will be responsible for the detail design, construction, outfitting and documentation for all CPBs. Swiftships Shipbuilders, LLC was deemed to be the only source that makes the CPBs with the Model 35PB1208 E-1455 and data rights, as directed by the Iraqi Government through a foreign military case. In NAVSEA’s opinion, this firm has the requisite background knowledge and experience required.
Dec 10/08: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Iraq’s formal request to buy up to 20 Coastal Patrol Boats in the 30-35meter range, and 3 Offshore Support Vessels in the 55-60 meter range. Boats would be equipped with the Seahawk MS1-DS30MA2 mount using a 30x173mm chain gun and short range Browning M2-HB .50 cal machine gun.
The contracts would also include spare and repair parts, weapon system software, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, and various forms of U.S. Government and contractor support. The estimated cost is up to $1.01 billion.
The principal contractor is unknown at this time of the release, however, acquisition is subject to FAR and DFARS domestic sourcing requirements. There are no known industrial offset agreements planned, but implementation of these sales will require the assignment of 2 contractor representatives in Iraq for a period of 8 years.
DSCA: Coastal patrol boats (20)
* Montrose Toast – Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle