Redesigned Patrol Boat

Redesigned Patrol Boat Faster and Lighter
Mark V Craft Redesigned For Navy by Boothbay Vessel Company

Boothbay, Maine
The job of Navy SEAL Personnel, or Sea, Air, and Land Sailors, is to charge hard into harms way performing their assigned, sometimes dangerous missions. Often times this necessitates delivery of people by small craft into small bays or coastal areas. The watercraft that is used to deliver SEAL personnel has to be strong, but because of the strength have often been heavy, and bulky.

The size and weight of their delivery vehicles have led to a rough ride, often beating up our warriors before they ever enter combat itself. Bruised and battered before arrival, with scrapes, bumps, sprained ankles and even a sore back and chipped tooth here and there. But there may be a better way, and a Boothbay Maine Company is leading the way in innovation.

Maine Marine Manufacturing LLC. has unveiled a lighter, faster version of an old military small craft favorite. They have taken a standard aluminum Mark V military patrol boat, and reworked it, using design and material changes resulting in a stronger, lighter, faster delivery vehicle. This company is a spin-off of Parent company, Hodgdon Yachts, well known in the region for their quality and workmanship in making luxury Yachts. This company is a military focused division that is already turning heads in the boat building community with their approach to construction and redesign.

Is This Boat Tough Enough?

The new vessel is specifically engineered to work toward absorbing some of the g forces and impact stress that a craft encounters as it plows through the water at high speed. This vessel, like its predecessor the Mark V, will have speeds in excess of fifty knots during use. Able to carry sixteen Navy SEALS, this craft is aiming to deliver our combat ready soldiers on site on time. The difference is there will be less impact forces on the passengers and SEALS while en-route to their missions.

The new craft already has a nickname, called “MAKO” after the shark that is often seen off the Gulf of Maine. The vessel is slated for extensive and rigorous shipbuilder testing in coastal waters off Maine, and then will travel south to Norfolk Virginia for further examination and testing. “We are building our boats from carbon-Kevlar, the best carbon composite available,” said David Packhem Jr. Packhem is CEO and President of Maine Marine Manufacturing. “We are focused on reducing the high impact and slamming forces,” stated Mr. Packhem. The first of its kind, the prototype eighty-two foot research and development craft bears a striking resemblance to the patrol boats used currently.

However, the new Mark V.1 vessel has vital and crucial differences. The new craft is made up of composite-Kevlar, and advanced composite materials. It is fifty percent stronger, and a little lighter than the aluminum standard Mark V version of the craft. Using the composite construction approach, the vessel slamming forces will be reduced significantly. Still undergoing design adjustment and refinement, CEO Packhem believes that even more weight can be eliminated in the future.

“We made the boat from this composite material, and then infused special resin to seal it” said Mr. Packhem. “We placed a foam core, sandwiched between layers of composite, and then sealed it with a full hull resin infusion. We are the only ones up to this point that has done this type of construction,” said David Packhem. “Using this method we have reduced the vertical acceleration forces by a large factor,” said Packhem.

“This is a very extraordinary vessel,” said Maine U.S. Senator Susan Collins. “We believe it is will be of extraordinary value to our SEALS, and to the Navy itself,” remarked Senator Collins. Senator Collins was on hand to christen the new vessel last Friday at the unveiling with a bottle of champagne. Originally known as the MK Five, or MK V, this was well known as a Special Ops watercraft, and has been around since the 1990s. It was created for Navy SEAL use, to ferry men, supplies and equipment, as well as Combat SEAL swimmers, swiftly in and out of dangerous missions.

The original Mark V Special Ops craft features two powerful twin diesel engines, and has been known to attain speeds up to sixty miles an hour with its twin jets of water propulsion system.
The boat is very effective, but because it has a stiff aluminum hull, the force of the boat slamming into the water is carried directly upward in often jarring and bone numbing fashion.
Reports of high G forces have been reported. “The Mark V Special Ops vessel has produced slamming forces up to 20 G’s, twenty times gravity,” stated Lieutenant Damon Shearer. Lieutenant Shearer is the senior Medical officer attached to the Navy’s Group 4 Special Warfare Unit.

Not long after the original Mark V went into use service-wide, the reports of injuries began to flood into Navy headquarters. The Navy tried to fix the problem with special shock absorbing seats, but there have continued to be problems, and injuries that occur with every use of the vessel. “There are times that our men arrive at their mission literally worn out and beaten up,” said Lieutenant Shearer. Captain Evin H. Thompson stated: “We have learned a great deal about the forces and power of the sea. The sea itself can be extremely cruel.” Captain Thompson is Commander of Group 4, Navy Special Warfare Group, based in Norfolk, Virginia.

The new vessel is officially the Mark V.1, and was enabled by hard work from Maine’s delegation to Congress. They secured fourteen million in funding over the last several years.
The project has involved cooperation between the University of Maine’s Engineered and Advanced Wood Composites Center, and Maine Marine Manufacturing. “We have high hopes, and if it does as well as we expect it to, it could be in wide production and full deployment inside of 2 or 3 years,” said Captain Thompson.

According to a press release from Senator Collins office, the future construction and building of this new vessel could mean twenty million dollars or more in revenue to the Boothbay region.

 

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