RFA Cardigan Bay practised with US patrol boats for the first time.

According to the Royal Navy, the vessel which acts as a floating command ship and support vessel for the Royal Navy’s four Bahrain-based minehunters, ‘rafted up’ with two Mark VI Patrol Boats at her home in Mina Salman port.

“The manoeuvre – well-honed with British and US minehunter crews, who frequently bring their ships alongside Cardigan Bay to take on board fuel and other supplies to sustain operations in the Gulf – saw two American crews bring their craft safely alongside the much larger Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel.

The ten-strong crews of boats 1201 and 1204 carefully – and successfully – manoeuvred their craft into position several times, ready for the RFA crews to cast lines down, providing excellent training for both the Brits and Americans, and especially the patrol boat coxswains.”

The US Navy’s 3rd Coastal Riverine Squadron operates four Mark Vis in Bahrain for numerous duties including launching/recovering surveillance drones, force protection missions – the 45kt craft carry a mixture of automated and hand-operated machine-guns – and board-and-search missions. They can also be adapted for minehunting duties.

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john melling

Been looking at the spec ‘s for those Mark Vi…. blimey !!
Why can’t we have these for parol boats ;P

According to NAVSEA, the weapons and C4SIR government-furnished equipment (GFE) cost about $6 million for each MK VI in FY2014 dollars. Each boat in FY2014 cost the US Navy approximately $8.6 million, excluding the GFE.

With 10 man crew

Now where’s my bank card


Pros and cons.

Andy P

They look a bit small for home waters, maybe fine for the Med or Gulf though.


Seems right for Gibraltar squadron replacement though


Yes something like this would be in the right ballpark for the Gib Squadron. Bigger but not too much so and fast enough to keep up with the Guardia Cival boats.

Daniele Mandelli

Are they more heavily armed than our Rivers!?

john melling

Well these are just patrol boats capable to be configured for other duties No flight deck… Well-armed for their 85-foot size, the CRF’s MK VIs are gunboats and currently do not have Griffin or SPIKE missiles installed. As of May 2019, weapons systems include: · 2X MK38 Mod 2 or 3 (25mm) gun weapon systems (GWSs). A remote-controlled and operated stabilized chaingun with electro-optical sensor integrated with a fire control system in a rotating turret for all weather conditions, day or night, engagement. Effective firing range is 2.5 kilometers with 168 ready rounds. These cannons can be controlled and fired… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Hi John

Thanks for the comprehensive answer. I was not being completely serious, of course no range, flight deck, and a different beast than a RB2.

Even so, that photo shows an awful lot mounted, even if some might be is FFBNW.

john melling

I think after the Us navy’s- Iranian incident a while back! They have buit these and given them a up gunned, modular, fit if\when required feel to them. plus a limited minesweeping role i think?

Something i suppose between a Sandown and a River

Nigel Collins

I’m guessing they will be replaced by these?

“U.S. Navy Gets New Heavily-Armed Port Patrol Boat”



I have worked on these things and done some deep maintenance on them and been out for a drive as well which was entertaining! In discussion with the CO operator of the vessel he said it is the BMW of the Patrol Boat world. You pay your money and you can go from A to B. However like BMW if you want to do it in comfort in a nice seat… that’s an optional extra. Radios, Radar, 25mm Bushmasters, Thims, 50cal, 7.62s, 40mm AGL Thumpers, cabin, galley, beds all optional extras. Basically no change out of 15m Dollars. They have… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

If Riverine ops became more important would they be worth the spend in place of, or supplementing, the RMs ORCs?


I think this shows the value of a ship with a dock. Its a shame that the T31 design was”tt based on the Absalon and therefore had a dock for Unmanned vehicles or small boats


I would like to see the marines get CB90’s to replace their ORCS and a lot of them too..

It’s an excellent asset that offers a great deal of flexibility and is proven, I know the RM had some on loan to test, not sure what the view of these were though

Nigel Collins

Its a lot bigger than an ORC. CB 90s where trialled by the RM from an LPD amongst other things and they decided to stick with the LCVP . The CB 90 is the same size as a LCVP and to get it to work from the davits on a LPD it would need a lot of work on the davits and the supporting structure on and in the hull which all adds to the cost of bringing them into service. A CB 90 is also a lot more of a complex machine and to be honest an LCVP is… Read more »


Agreed Gunbuster, they are not the same, but we are building a new fleet of vessels and I think we should be looking to design into these the ability to have this capability or similar. For me i see a dispersed commando force being delivered in small batches spread out or in mass and these would need to be supported by Caimens or S2S connectors from a FLO FLO or other mothership. It’s also handy for inshore patrolling and riverine and is proven, different yes, worth considering I think given the way it can be altered for lots of different… Read more »


Basically these can runaway faster from anything that outguns them and outguns anything floating that can catch up to them.


This shows the value if a ship with a dock It’s a shame that the T31 design doesn’t have a dock like the Absalon class. As deploying manned and unmanned boats etc Is useful


Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think the Absalon class as a floodable dock? Also, the Type 31 will be able to launch boats through its adaptable mission bay.


You are correct

What an a salon can do is deploy a CB90 out of it via a rear door, which is a force multiplier. The extra deck it has over the huitfeldt also makes it a more flexible platform imo.

The decision is made for the uk but it is a pity we never fully embraced an absalon Mk 2 design merging all the lessons learned from the 2 classes using this base design. Who knows perhaps we have