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Navy Moves More Patrol Craft to 5th Fleet

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Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Hurricane (PC-3) in 2012. US Navy Photo

Cyclone-class coastal patrol ship USS Hurricane (PC-3) in 2012. US Navy Photo

The U.S. Navy has sent two additional Cyclone-class patrol craft (PC) to U.S. 5th Fleet to increase U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf, U.S. Fleet Forces announced late Wednesday.

USS Hurricane (PC-3) and USS Monsoon (PC-4) left Naval Station Norfolk, Va. on Wednesday to join eight other PCs already stationed in Bahrain later this summer, a Fleet Forces spokesperson told USNI News on Thursday. The ten ships will operate as far afield as the Gulf of Oman.

“The primary mission of these ships is coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance, an important aspect of littoral operations outlined in the Navy’s maritime strategy,” according to the Wednesday statement from Fleet Forces.

In July 2013 the navy moved three PCs to Bahrain, bringing the total number of Cyclones in the region to eight.

The move, annouced last year, is part of a shift in presence in 5th Fleet to emphasize smaller less expensive ships, rather than larger U.S. warships.

The PCs are much smaller than the 9,000 ton Arleigh Burke destroyers (DDGs). The PCs weigh in at about 385 tons but are heavily armed for their size.

“Our numbers of DDGs we have out here have declined over the past year. [PCs] are picking up a lot of the missions they were doing, ” Destroyer Squadron 50 and Combined Task Force 55 (DESRON50/CTF-55) commander Capt. Joseph Naman told USNI News last year.
“It doesn’t mean we are going to do away with the DDG. They still have a mission here.”

For example, DDGs provide a mobile defense against ballistic missiles.

Despite the shift toward smaller craft in the region, destroyers and other U.S. ships can quickly enter the area.

Currently, the U.S. has nine major warships in the Persian Gulf — a six ship carrier strike group and a three ship Amphibious Ready Group (ARG).

  • BW

    There are also six Island-Class patrol boats (110 ft) from the U.S. Coast Guard based in Bahrain.

  • Peter

    I hope the US Navy comes to realize that there is a real need for small fast patrol and attack crafts in the naval fleet, ships such as the USCG Fast Response Cutter and the Ambassador MKIII Missile Boat. I mean, the US MAKES these small boats…why not buy some?

    • Secundius

      @ Peter.

      Because, they’ve gotten themselves into the Mind-Set, that Big-Is-Better.
      Apparently is one of those organizational structures, that doesn’t learn anything about their past accomplishments.

  • Peter

    It’s also career politics as commanding a huge warship with hundreds to thousands of people under the officer’s command looks a whole lot better on the resume than commanding a small boat with just a handful of sailors. Officers like standing on huge bridges compared to the cramped cabins of small boats. Nonetheless, some of these small crafts are getting very potent and the USN really needs to have a fleet of new small boats for missions that do not require large expensive warships.