Touring the Navy's workhorse

Petty Officer 1st Class Damein Chapman, the ship's assistant navigator, plots a course toward a safe location in the Persian Gulf to conduct a formation and maneuvering exercise with six other coastal patrol ships, April 8, 2014. Of the 13 coastal patrol ships the U.S. Navy has, eight are forward deployed to Bahrain to operate in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

The coastal patrol ship has re-emerged as the workhorse of the Navy’s forward presence.

Last year, three PCs, as they are called, were sent to Bahrain to augment the five already based near the U.S. 5th Fleet Headquarters. Two more are expected to arrive in the coming months. By the end of the summer, 10 of the Navy’s 13 PC ships will be forward deployed to Bahrain.

In 5th Fleet, the ships are routinely tasked to escort other ships, provide maritime security, protect infrastructure and frequently participate in exercises with regional allies.

Each PC, with a crew of about 25 sailors, can pack a formidable punch. Half of the PCs in 5th Fleet were recently outfitted with the lightweight Griffin Missile System to complement the existing 25mm autocannon and .50-caliber machine guns.


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