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PC-1 Cyclone class - Program
Patrol Coastal Craft

In 1990, the Navy awarded a contract to Bollinger Machine Shop and Shipyard of Lockport, LA for construction of eight Patrol Coastal (PC) ships based on the Vosper Thornycroft Patrol Craft hull design. A follow-on contract for five additional ships was executed in July 1991. The Patrol Coastal Ships were procured with the primary missions of coastal patrol, interdiction surveillance, and to support Naval Special Warfare missions as an important aspect of littoral operations. Typically, first-of-class shipbuilding projects may take between three and six years from contract award to delivery, depending upon the complexity of the vessel and other factors. the Cyclone (PC 1) coastal patrol craft was awarded on August 3, 1990 and delivered on Feb. 19, 1993.

The set of (fleet) propellers initially fitted to the PC-1 Cyclone Class were designed by Vosper Thornycroft Limited (VT), United Kingdom, and were built by both Brunton's Propeller, Sudsbury, England, and Volda Bamford, Ltd., Stockport, England. This fleet propeller design was tested and determined to be unacceptable because it failed to propel the ship to 35 knots (at half load displacement) and did not allow the ship to develop the contractual full power. The fleet propeller blades also exhibited cavitation erosion damage, and on-board noise levels above the specification requirements.

The US Navy conducted a research and development design program at David Taylor Model Basin, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD), with the preliminary goal of reducing the propulsion generated onboard radiated noise levels in order to improve habitability. Secondary goals were to enable the PC class to meet its performance requirements at an increased displacement, and to eliminate the cavitation erosion damage tendencies to the propeller's blades. Additional experiments evaluated the PC-1 with the installation of different stern flap designs. The stern flaps were tested at various angles, in order to determine the configuration which would yield the optimum powering characteristics.

PC-1 final US Navy 6-bladed design propellers were installed on PC-13 Shamal in August, 1995; and full scale propulsion, acoustic, and vibration trials were conducted by the Combatant Craft Engineering Branch (Code 23). The PC-13 Shamal was also fitted with the stern flap designed by Cusanelli (5200), and full scale testing was conducted concurrent with testing of the US Navy 6-bladed design propellers. The stern flap provided for a decrease in delivered power throughout the entire speed range, and an increase in maximum attainable ship speed.

PC 5 (in camouflage paint) and PC 6 made the first Mediterranean deployment by the class in 1995. PC 3 and a sister had camouflage paint during a 1997 deployment to Europe. A shore-based Maintenance Support Team supports each unit deploying overseas with three 20-ft vans for spares and repair work.

Originally to have been a class of 16 intended to replace the 17 overaged PB Mk-III for use by SEAL Special Boat Squadrons, the last three units were not funded. Under the original contract, the first was to have been delivered during August 1991, with the others to deliver at eight-week intervals. The program was completed well behind schedule, however. Hull numbers should have begun with PC 1647 per Navy custom and tradition.

PC-14 was funded by Congress with no Navy request, and PC-1 was decommissioned to provide the crew for PC-14. This program acquires one additional ship and ancillary equipment for coastal patrol and interdiction and Naval Special Warfare Support. This is an NDI acquisition program. PC-14 is a sole-source, fixed-price, NDI, shipbuilding program required to execute under strict funding obligation deadlines. This 14th ship integrated 90+ SHIPALTs into the Contractor's proprietary design while jointly incorporating several new design requirements during a 6-month Design & Integration IPT period prior to construction. Contractor has full design responsibility for the ship, and all designs must be "backfittable" to the 13 in-service ships of the Class. The PC-14 stern ramp permits launch/recovery of NSW RIB while underway. PC-14 incorporates reduced RCS, EO/VIS, and IR signatures

Fleet Commanders in Chief (CINCLANTFLT and CINCPACFLT) are required to maintain the capability to conduct coastal patrol, surveillance and interdiction, and to maintain the capability to support Navy Special Warfare forces (SEALS) in their various areas of responsibility. The Patrol Coastal (PC) is intended to fulfill these coastal patrol, surveillence and interdiction roles. The PC-14 will also be employed to support Naval Special Warfare missions within the ships' inherent capabilities. The PC-14 will operate under warfighting doctrinal guidelines of NWP 39, Naval Coastal Warfare Doctrine; NWP 15, Naval Special Warfare; and NWP 13-1, Navy Riverine and Coastal Operations. PC is expected to operate primarily in low-intensity conflict (LIC) environments. Contingency scenarios will range from permissive Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations (NEO) to counterinsurgency and surveillence and interdiction of coastal sea lines of communication (SLOCs). The PC also provide an affordable, compatible, and proven candidate for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) consideration.

Upgrades to the fielded Patrol Coastal (PC) ship are planned under several of the PC programs. Backfit of stern ramp and reduction in signatures used in PC-14 was planned for existing PCs.

The Patrol Coastal Combat Retrieval System (CCRS) program will modify the aft deck of Cyclone Class Patrol Coastal ships to be capable of retrieving various combatant craft. The current crane and ship's boat will be removed and replaced with an aft deck ramp - which extends down to below the water line. This modification significantly increases the ship's capability to provide NSW support. Work was budgeted to occur in FY00-03.

USS CYCLONE was the lead ship of the Navy's Cyclone-class of patrol coastal boats. The ship was decommissioned and stricken from the Navy list on February 28, 2000, and was given to the US Coast Guard the next day. There, the CYCLONE was re-commissioned as USCGC CYCLONE (WPC 1). Serving in this role for another four years, the ship was finally transferred to the Philippines on March 8, 2004, where the CYCLONE entered naval service as BRP MARIANO ALVAREZ (PS 38).

Some PCs, originally slated for decommissioning and Foreign Military Sales Transfer, PCs were put to immediate use patrolling homeland coastal waterways following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. In November 2001, six PCs (with Navy crews) were transferred to the Coast Guard for use in homeland security. In January 2002, the seven remaining ships were assigned to the Coast Guard to further support Operation Noble Eagle.

Full operational control was transferred from the U.S. Special Operations Command to the U.S. Navy's Atlantic and Pacific Fleet commands in October 2002. In addition to homeland maritime security missions, the ships were employed by the Navy in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

The Navy and Coast Guard signed an agreement in August 2004 that allowed five ships to be under the operational command of the Coast Guard beginning in October 2004. Two of five ships will return to the Navy in 2008; the remainder will return in 2011. Beginning in 2009, the ships will undergo a sustainment program to update the ships communication, engineering and support systems.

As of 2005 Navy had eight PCs in service, with five forward deployed to Bahrain and three homeported at Little Creek. USS Hurricane (PC 3) and USS Squall (PC 7) departed Naval Amphibious Base Coronado 01 November 2005 to transfer to Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va. As part of the Navy's reorganization to better fight the global war on terror, the role of Patrol Coastal Ships (PC) has been under evaluation. SEAL (Sea, Air, Land) teams couldn't use them because they were too large for their mission. After Sept. 11, the demand for them grew. They can get to shallow waters and maneuver quickly where cruisers and destroyers can't safely operate. This makes them a great asset for protecting oil terminals and overseas port security. Keeping the ships on station in Bahrain significantly cuts down on the wear and tear of the ship and reduces the amount of time it takes to get the ship fully operational on station. Instead of being attached to a ship, the 16 rotational crews will be identified by alpha names and will have five deployed and 11 training on stateside ships. Each crew has a compliment of four officers and 24 enlisted crew members. With the homeport change, the PC community will be in one location and the Sailors will receive training in seven- to 16-week cycles.

The US Navy Cyclone Class patrol boats are patrolling the waters of the Arabian Gulf with the mission of surveillance and interdiction of insurgent, terrorist and drug trafficking surface vessels. The primary threat to Navy vessels, and our sailors, is from being approached by explosive filled vessels, possibly manned by suicide bombers, such as occurred with the USS Cole. Our sailors board these vessels for inspection unaware of the explosive threat.

As part of Commander, Task Group (CTG) 158.1, the patrol boats conduct MSO that help set the conditions for security and stability in the North Arabian Gulf and protect Iraq's sea-based infrastructure to help provide the Iraqi people the opportunity for self-determination. U.S. Navy 170-foot Cyclone-class Patrol Coastal ships and Coast Guard 110-foot Island-class patrol boats can reach their destinations faster and navigate in and out of shallower waters than larger Navy ships. PCs typically remain forward deployed for long periods of time in the Arabian Gulf, while their crews are swapped out every six months. The crew swap initiative increases the Navy's forward presence by providing an extra 90 days of on-station time per vessel-- time the patrol boats use to maximize protection of the Iraqi oil terminals in the Northern Arabian Gulf.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 12:51:03 ZULU