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Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R)

United States Marine Inc. (USMI) manufactures two special operations watercraft: the Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat (NSW RIB) and the Special Operations Craft Riverine (SOCR). The Special Operations Craft-Riverine [SOC-R] is designed as a high speed boat with ample weapons and equipment capacity. The mission of the SOC-R craft is to perform Short Range Insertion (SRI) of Special Operation Forces in a riverine environment.

This boat has the ability to operate in waterways that are located well inland. The capacity of the boat allows forces to conduct extended operations. The SOC-R is an air-transportable, armored craft that is capable of carrying special operations forces for insertion, extraction, and reconnaissance missions in riverine environments. SOC-R is more capable and supportable than existing Vietnam-era craft and, unlike the latter, fully meets operational requirements.

These craft replace Vietnam era craft including the 31' River Patrol Boat (PBR) and the 36' Mini-Armored Troop Carrier (MATC). The riverine mission includes rivers and littorals requiring the craft to be operational in moderate sea states with capability to defeat hostile threats with speed, weapons and armor.

The Special Operations Craft Riverine (SOCR) provide Naval Special Warfare the capability to insert/extract SEALs in a riverine environment. The craft must be capable of operating in shallow, confined waters, have the ability to suppress fire or break contact with hostile forces and be fast and maneuverable. It must be air transportable internally and externally and air drop capable. The SOCR must be able to beach on mud riverbanks and on unobstructed shorelines where surf is less than two feet.

This program was formerly the Riverine Replacement Craft. The armored riverine craft provides SOF with the capability to insert and extract SOF in the riverine environment. It replaces the Vietnam-era MK II Patrol Boat, Riverine and Mini-Armored Troop Carrier. The craft is capable of navigating coastal, restricted and shallow rivers, estuaries, bays and the littoral, and carry lightorganic arms. It is also capable of being transported and air-dropped by C-130 aircraft.

In the riverine environment, the (SOF) Combatant Craft (CC) normally is the Special Operations Craft - Riverine (SOC-R). In that setting, if the presence or position becomes known mission failure is likely and results in an extreme hazard to life of SOC-R personnel. Therefore, when SOC-R is not underway, craft engines are not a viable power source due to the noise associated with operating the engines.

Typical mission characteristics include SOF CC is stationary; must maintain visual and sound discipline; use of electronic equipment (radios, radar, FLIR, other sensors, etc.) is essential; and lasts up to 72 hours duration in a single hide location. Presently, the user carries an additional eight marine battery sets onboard the CC to meet mission requirements. The craft currently has two twelve volt deep cycle marine batteries in series with a capacity of 55-amp-hours that is utilized as the service circuit. Starting batteries with the same capacity that are used to start the engines are used as a backup to the deep cycle batteries.

The SOCR would mount a combination of 7.62mm or .50 cal. Machine, 40mm grenade launchers and 7.62mm mini-guns.

Communications systems and navigation systems are the same as on current NSW craft. These include radar, GPS (SAASM capable), IFF, and a proximity beacon device. The communications module shall provide connectivity for HF net (ALE compatible), VHF FM net (SINGARS compatible), UHF AM net HAVE QUICK II compatible) and UHF SAT COM net MIL-STD 188-181/182/183 compliant). The craft interior communications provide remote master-slave switching capability that allows crewmembers the capability to communicate boat to boat or on tactical circuits via the communications modules.

Craft on trailer with prime mover (tractor) is air transportable on a single C-130 aircraft, airdroppable from a C-130, helicopter transportable, trailered over improved and semi-improved roads and launched over unimproved riverbank gradients.

The FY 2001 program commenced low rate initial production of armored boats and trailers, prime movers, deployment packages, outfitting, navigation systems, identification of friend or foe systems, and support equipment.

The FY2003 budget request did not include any funding for Special Operations Craft-Riverine (SOC-R) procurement. Procurement of SOC-Rs would allow Special Operations Command to accelerate attainment of its total inventory objective. Therefore, the Senate Armed Services Committee recommended an increase of $8.0 million in Procurement, Defense-Wide for Special Operations Forces Combatant Craft Systems to purchase approximately six SOC-R systems.

The David Packard Award for Acquisition Excellence was presented to four Department of Defense program teams at a June 4, 2003 ceremony at Fort Belvoir. One of the four winners was the Special Operations Command's Special Operations Craft Riverine (SOCR). The Special Operations Craft Riverine team was innovative in its approach to the successful fielding of a complete SOCR system allowing a four-person crew to carry eight special operations forces in an air transportable armored watercraft.



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