Louisiana-based shipbuilder wins contract to build patrol boats - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Louisiana-based shipbuilder wins contract to build patrol boats for U.S. Navy

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Courtesy of Metal Shark / PB(X) Courtesy of Metal Shark / PB(X)

Metal Shark, a Louisiana-based shipbuilder based in Iberia Parish, has been awarded a contract to produce the U.S. Navy's next-generation patrol boat, the PB(X).

The contract was awarded after a multi-year process by the Navy to find a replacement for their current fleet of force protection boats in use with the Navy Expeditionary Combad Command's Coastal Riverine Forces(CRF). The Navy plans to replace 100 to 160 of it current 25-foot and 34-foot CRF patrol boats with the larger and more modern PB(X) model over the next fifteen years. 

(Photo Courtesy of Metal Shark)

The Navy, according to Metal Shark, has placed an immediate order for eleven new vessels. The contract, potentially worth up to $90 million will allow Metal Shark to build 50 PB(X) vessels for the Navy along with trailers, spares, and training packages, and include technical support.

According to a press release:

The winning PB(X) design is a 40-foot, welded-aluminum pilothouse patrol boat designed by Metal Shark’s in-house engineering team. Leveraging its extensive experience with military patrol craft of similar size, Metal Shark designed a bespoke craft ideally suited to accommodate all mission parameters.

Immediately identifiable thanks to its chiseled, angular profile and a unique faceted hull, the PB(X) is powered by twin diesel inboards and water jets. Metal Shark designed a moderate aft deadrise, wide-waterplane, sharp-entry hull form that not only achieves 35+ knot sprint speeds while displaying superb dynamic stability in a range of conditions, but also offers enhanced handling and greatly reduced operating cost at the 10-15 knot escort and cruise speeds where the vessel will spend the bulk of its operational life. The PB(X) features ballistic protection and can be armed with a range of crew-served and remotely operated weapons systems. 

In order to fully optimize the hull and propose a more mature design, Metal Shark built a PBX running prototype hull, designated PB(X)-P1, which was extensively tested in a wide range of operating conditions. This test platform became the basis for Metal Shark’s resistance, powering, and weight testing, and determined the final configuration proposed to the Navy.

The PB(X) will be built at the Jeanerette production facility which "specializes in the rapid, serialized assembly of military patrol boats." A list of other boats are currently being manufactured for the military.

This is the second major contract with the U.S. Navy awarded to Metal Shark in 2017. The company was selected in June to build thirteen Near Coastal Patrol Vessels(NCPVs) for the Navy. These patrol vessels are being produced at the waterfront shipyard in Franklin, Louisiana.

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