US Navy Mk V Special Operations Craft
The Mk V Special Operations Craft is a high-speed waterborne transporter for naval special operations forces. Capable of speeds in excess of 50 knots and ranges of 500 nautical miles, the Mk V was specially designed to get
and other special warfare forces close into shore an a low to medium-threat environment. The Mk V is the result of a newer, streamlined aquisition process that cut red tape; the Navy took position of their first Special Operations craft 18 months after drawing up the original contract.
The Vietnam War highlighted the US Navy's need for better abilities within the littoral, or near-shore, environment, but the drawdowns after the war left the Navy Special Warfare barely existing. There was hardly enough money to keep the old equippment they had running, let alone create new ones. After
awareness of special operations units and their requirements for success increased, and with it came organization, direction, and funding.
One of the (things) lacked was for a fast craft that could use high speed to get in and out of danger quickly dropping forces off in enemy territory or performing raids. The original to carry out this mission was the HSB, or High Speed Boat, which saw use with the Special Boat Units and SEALs in the Gulf War. The HSB was prone to breakdowns however, and, being based on a civilian design, lacked the room to carry enough operators or their equipment. As such, it was decided to create an all-new military designed boat that was exactly what the Navy needed.
What emerged was the Mk V Special Operations Craft, a fast boat with the capacity needed and the ability to get special warfare forces to their destination in comfort so that they are mentally and physically able to perform at their best. The Mk V is manueverable and fast, with a top speed at around 50 knots and the ability to turn quickly and go from full-speed to a dead stop within one and a half times the length of it's hull ( roughly 120 feet ). It has the capacity to carry sixteen fully equipped SEALs and 4 CRRC's to missions 500 miles away from where they are based.
The Mk V has many special features that makes it more survivable and likely to survive a mission while delivering soldiers to their missions. It's angular design and low sillouette reduces it's radar signature making it harder to spot and detect. It's V-hull design gives it good handling qualities in rough water as well as speed and shallow draft (
four feet when cruising on-step
). Its twin MTU 12-cylinder
was specially designed to offer maximum comfort in high seas or heavy manuevering, and allows occupants to either stand or sit. In the past a vast majority of the Special Boat unit's vessels relied on the firepower of embarked SEALs to help bolster the defensive and offensive capacities, but the Mk V is a powerful vehicle in its own right, boaasting four mounts on the port and starboard sides (
two to a side
) for weapons ranging from M-60 machine guns to 40mm grenade launchers and 7.62 miniguns. Stinger surfacce-to-air missiles can also be carried in defense against attacking aircraft.
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The Mk V SOC is operated by Special Boat Squadrons One and Two on the east and west coasts. Two twenty boats in inventory are split into 10 two-vessel detachments, with five detachments on the west coast and four on the east, with the last detachment forward deployed to the European theatre. Each detachment consists of two boats and trailers and spares for 90 days, two 5-ton trucks for towing, and four HMMVV's, and can be deployed to anywhere in the world within 48 hours via USAF C-5 Galaxy cargo aircraft. Each detachment deploys with ten crew and eight maintenance crewmembers.