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The Swarming Boat Problem –What Does it Mean? (A threat to our Navy)
Technology and Security ^ | Feb 12 2012 | Stephen Bryen

Posted on 02/12/2012 6:03:45 PM PST by Ooh-Ah

The US Navy has been concerned for some time about the threat of “swarming” boats. This threat is seen as very strong where American warships go through narrow passageways like the Strait of Hormuz, or around important anchorages, as for example near key oil ports.


The swarming boat thesis is that terrorist, whether directly or indirectly state sponsored (i.e., Hezbollah, al-Qaeda) will load up a number of small boats with high explosives and drive them toward US warships at relatively high speed. These boats, which just need a couple of high powered outboard motors, can move very fast. Because they are made out of fiberglass and do not protrude far above the waterline, they are hard to see, hard to catch on radar, and hard to shoot at because they expose very little surface.

Sri Lanka Suicide Boat

A terrorist suicide boat from Sri Lanka


A swarming boat attack can be a suicide attack, or it can be an attack where the boat driver jumps out at the last minute. Or, in a more sophisticated version, the swarming boats can be remote controlled.

Swarming boats can be launched from shore at night, or they can be dropped into the water from old transport ships or empty, obsolete oil tankers.

Multiple boats coming at a US Naval ships present a problem, because it is unlikely that the ship’s missiles can hit these targets. This leaves only the guns on the ship to do the job.Iran has built 9,000 Speedboats for Swarming Attacks

American ships today are significantly under-gunned. During the 80′s Pentagon planners were focused on “big” naval threats like the Soviet Union. Ships needed missiles to fire, guns were thought to be obsolete.

Most US warships have a CIWS gun (pronounced Sea-Wiz). This is a 20mm Gatling gun that was put on ships to take on any enemy missile that got through past the missile defense on the ship. CIWS fires a lot of rounds very rapidly, but it also runs out of ammunition just as fast. It is a short range gun, but probably will not be very effective against multiple swarming boats coming in from different angles of attack. CIWS was only used once in 1991 against an Iraqi Silkworm missile. It missed its target but managed to hit one of its nearby sister ships. Another CIWS, belonging to the Japanese Navy, shot down a US A-6 Intruder aircraft, when it was supposed to hit a target drone towed by the A-6.

The US Navy had a program to integrate the CIWS gun with the Oto Melara 76mm Compact 75 on US frigates. The project, called Swarmbuster, does not seem to have been completed. The Compact 75 is a long range 3 inch gun that is effective in the counter-ship counter-boat role. It also has ammunition with sufficient burst to blow a swarming boat out of the water. Improved versions of the Oto gun fire 100 rounds per minute or better. It can use the same sensor as the CIWS gun.

The US Navy is right to be worried about the swarming boat problem. On the other hand, the Navy is not very well prepared to deal with the threat, particularly if the enemy strikes at night. One wonders why, despite the depth of concern and the years the Navy has had to deal with the threat, very little (if anything) has been done to build proper countermeasures.


Iranian Mini Subs

Iranian Mini-Subs Another Threat to US Navy ships


TOPICS: Government; Military/Veterans
KEYWORDS: iran; military; nationalsecurity; navy

1 posted on 02/12/2012 6:03:50 PM PST by Ooh-Ah
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To: Ooh-Ah

Kill ‘em all.


2 posted on 02/12/2012 6:06:39 PM PST by SatinDoll (NO FOREIGN NATIONALS AS OUR U.S.A. PRESIDENT)
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To: Ooh-Ah
The solution is to promise this if any of these attacks succeed:

And then, if violated, DO IT.

3 posted on 02/12/2012 6:07:57 PM PST by Talisker (He who commands, must obey.)
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To: Ooh-Ah

Our weapons in Egypt will make the entire ME unsafe for US forces.


4 posted on 02/12/2012 6:10:41 PM PST by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: Ooh-Ah

The solution is helicopter gun ships with night vision sighting. Shooting ducks in a barrel.

The USN probably has other solutions, but as long as they are unknown, they are harder to counter. Remember, loose lips sink ships. Literally.


5 posted on 02/12/2012 6:11:42 PM PST by piytar (Rebellion is here! Free Republic is on the front line! NEVER SURRENDER!)
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To: Ooh-Ah

How about an A-10 or this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1URyNpiy4xA


6 posted on 02/12/2012 6:15:21 PM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (Ceterum autem censeo, Obama delenda est.)
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To: Ooh-Ah
All this talk about 20mms and CIWS and such is ridiculous. All it would take is a few sets of twin .50 cal machine guns with abundant ammo supplies to take out a bunch of speedboats. I bet the navy has this issue in their vest pocket. .
7 posted on 02/12/2012 6:16:10 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Ooh-Ah

I thought the USN had installed 57mm Bofors to enhance/fill in the gap between the anti-missile/anti-ship armaments?


8 posted on 02/12/2012 6:18:33 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: Ooh-Ah

I agree. They should shoot anything that is moving towards them.


9 posted on 02/12/2012 6:24:08 PM PST by Mears (Alcohol. Tobacco. Firearms. What's not to like?)
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To: Ooh-Ah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dU4N-7QhXso


10 posted on 02/12/2012 6:27:05 PM PST by smokingfrog ( sleep with one eye open (<o> ---)
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To: Ooh-Ah
These boats, which just need a couple of high powered outboard motors, can move very fast. Because they are made out of fiberglass and do not protrude far above the waterline, they are hard to see, hard to catch on radar, and hard to shoot at because they expose very little surface.

At night, the motors on these boats will stand out like flares on overhead thermal imaging. A swarm of Predator-B's, each armed with up to 14 Hellfire missiles, would take them out quickly.

We also have a bunch of Mark V Special Operations Craft (SOC), a fast attack boat that can do 50 knots and carries 4 gun mounts (two on each side) which can be fitted with 7.62 mini guns or 40mm (youtube video


11 posted on 02/12/2012 6:34:27 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

Correct. I’m sure if they’re close enough in that those small craft are a threat, there’s going to be air support. Bigtime.


12 posted on 02/12/2012 6:34:27 PM PST by nascarnation (DEFEAT BARAQ 2012 DEPORT BARAQ 2013)
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To: piytar

Dont tell Senator/usefull idiot Feinstein.


13 posted on 02/12/2012 6:42:03 PM PST by bdfromlv (Leavenworth hard time)
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To: hinckley buzzard
.50cal snipers have in their available rounds, one with a ring of RDX.

Not sure if it has to hit something harder than a pontoon to go off.

It worked real well against terrorists hiding behind a concrete wall.

14 posted on 02/12/2012 6:44:18 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: nascarnation
I’m sure if they’re close enough in that those small craft are a threat, there’s going to be air support. Bigtime.

Around all of our warships? 24-7? For months on end?

15 posted on 02/12/2012 6:45:32 PM PST by Pilsner
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To: Pilsner

Normally they’re well offshore where little craft like this wouldn’t venture, right?


16 posted on 02/12/2012 6:54:15 PM PST by nascarnation (DEFEAT BARAQ 2012 DEPORT BARAQ 2013)
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To: Calvin Locke
A friend sent me this answer:
The 57mm Bofors gun is only on the Littoral Combat ships (LCS). The gun's effectiveness is unproven. The LCS is not ready for deployment anywhere. It is a very large contraption and vulnerable to Iranian missiles and torpedoes as well as swarming boats. The Bofors gun reportedly can fire only a few seconds before it has to cool off. It is not clear why the Navy took a gun that has no track record in any Navy. Certainly it does not solve the swarming boat problem.

17 posted on 02/12/2012 6:54:38 PM PST by Ooh-Ah
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To: hinckley buzzard
The Navy has a bunch of fast patrol boats (mentioned in my post #11), as well as the Cyclone-class coastal patrol boats:
General Characteristics, Cyclone Class
Builder: Bollinger Shipyards, Inc.
Propulsion: Four Paxman diesels; four shafts; 3,350 shaft horsepower.
Length: 179 feet (51.82 meters).
Beam: 25 feet (7.62 meters).
Displacement: 380 long tons (387 metric tons) full load.
Speed: 35 knots (40 miles per hour; 65 kilometers/hr).
Crew: Four officers, 24 enlisted personnel.
Armament: One MK 96 and one MK 38 25mm machine guns; 
five .50 caliber machine guns; 
two MK 19 40mm automatic grenade launchers; 
two M-60 machine guns.

18 posted on 02/12/2012 6:55:32 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: Pilsner

I take it you’ve never heard of night OPS?


19 posted on 02/12/2012 7:17:55 PM PST by meatloaf
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To: meatloaf

I just posted a similar response on another thread.

The key is to understand the enemy. They KNOW they cannot win. But they know if a carrier is going through the straights, they fire off fifty missiles and send a swarm of boats. The concept is to get one hit. One poke in they eye of the Great Satan.

We have to change our concept of war over there. Sink one ship, and they are the guys who took us on.

And even more, think beyond sinking a carrier. Our smaller ships would not be able to withstand the onslaught.


20 posted on 02/12/2012 7:28:31 PM PST by Vermont Lt (I just don't like anything about the President. And I don't think he's a nice guy.)
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To: Ooh-Ah

Time to go back to the 50 cal. Quad mounts.


21 posted on 02/12/2012 7:46:55 PM PST by headstamp 2 (Liberalism: Carrying adolescent values and behavior into adult life.)
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To: Ooh-Ah
I can recall being on board Enterprise on Yankee Station in '66 and watching the sunrise ...and looking at all junks and small boats crowded all around us. We were fairly close inshore,the North Vietnamese coast was a smudge on the horizon.

Those junks were supposedly fishing,but were really there to sound off when we launched a strike. Our defense against them wasn't there until they welded some .50 cal mounts on the catwalks all around the flight deck. The only high-speed contacts I remember were one early AM blips that sent us to GQ. Six high speed surface contacts were eliminated by diverting an A-6 Intruder from an en route night strike inland to the area of the contacts...which disappeared after a dump of maybe 22 bombs on their position.

Then point is you make do with what you've got or improvise.

22 posted on 02/12/2012 7:51:23 PM PST by oldsalt (There's no such thing as a free lunch.)
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To: PapaBear3625

Those 4 gun mounts can be fitted with much more that 7.62.


23 posted on 02/12/2012 7:54:30 PM PST by Angry_White_Man_Syndrome
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To: Ooh-Ah

>> One wonders why, despite the depth of concern and the years the Navy has had to deal with the threat, very little (if anything) has been done to build proper countermeasures.

Let me just take a wild stab at this one: Because we promote to leadership positions admirals whose main ambition is to see that our submarines are “manned” entirely by lesbian “sailors”?


24 posted on 02/12/2012 8:21:17 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Trust in God, but row away from the rocks!)
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To: Vermont Lt

I would hope we’re smart enough to keep the our carriers out of range of small boats. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t be surprised by a bunch towed far out to sea beyond their expected range. If pirates do that, Iran certainly can. Unfortunately, Israel is the wild card. With us mostly out of Iraq, they have an easier route to Iran. We could end up being bystanders who take a hit after Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities. I don’t expect us to escape taking a hit. I’ve said before I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose a carrier. There’s too much fuel and ordinance to not suffer serious damage and even a loss.


25 posted on 02/12/2012 8:24:55 PM PST by meatloaf
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To: Calvin Locke; Ooh-Ah

http://www.baesystems.com/ProductsServices/bae_prod_bofors_mm_mk_three.html

Yup -

For exactly this purpose. Demos are awesome.

The article is kind of silly - talking about the gattling gun.


26 posted on 02/12/2012 8:35:04 PM PST by Eldon Tyrell (question,.)
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To: headstamp 2
The old Terrier SAMs worked very well against small surface targets. We took out a 30 degree swath of rubber boats at 5-6 miles during a MISSILEX.

Kind of a scary flight profile though. It looked like it was arcing right back at you.
27 posted on 02/12/2012 8:35:18 PM PST by Thrownatbirth (.....Iraq Invasion fan since '91.)
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28 posted on 02/12/2012 8:48:49 PM PST by RedMDer (Forward With Confidence!)
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To: Nervous Tick
Because we promote to leadership positions admirals whose main ambition is to see that our submarines are “manned” entirely by lesbian “sailors”?

Yeah, and cower in fear when female Senators question whether they should receive their pensions.

29 posted on 02/12/2012 9:14:47 PM PST by Last Dakotan
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome
Those 4 gun mounts can be fitted with much more that 7.62.

Yes, they can be fitted with .50 and 40mm grenade launchers, but at 3,000 rounds per minute, the 7.62 mini gun will shred a speed boat quite nicely. The tracer stream also makes it easier to guide onto the target from a moving boat.

30 posted on 02/13/2012 4:17:22 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: PapaBear3625

Yes, but with a max effective range of 2000 meters compared to 1000 for the 7.62 a 50 cal is the way to go. This even more important when dealing with suicide mission targets. Now having 7.62 ready if they get past you outer line is good but nothing compares to the stopping power and range of a 50 cal on a small boat.


31 posted on 02/13/2012 5:20:10 AM PST by Angry_White_Man_Syndrome
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome

You have higher confidence than I do about the ability of a sailor on a moving, bouncing boat to hit a dodging speedboat at 2,000 meters using a non-gyro-stabilized gun. Our sailors are really good, I’m not sure they are that good.


32 posted on 02/13/2012 5:27:15 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome

One thing I might like to see on our patrol boats, for use against speedboats: TOW missiles with gyro-stabilized computer-assisted sights.


33 posted on 02/13/2012 5:47:21 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: nascarnation; meatloaf
Normally they’re well offshore where little craft like this wouldn’t venture, right?

In narrow water ways, there is no "well offshore." Our warships will be threading their way civilian shipping, including trading, fishing and pleasure vessels of all kinds, a lot off it making short trips along the Gulf coast, or across it. If the Navy knows in advance when, and where,the Iranians will attack, I don't doubt that our aircraft and helicopters could easily destroy Iranian fast boats by the hundred. But I also think it is preposterous to think that the lack of guns on our warships isn't a big deal, because we have enough helicopters to give all of our warships 360° protection, 24-7.

34 posted on 02/13/2012 5:59:55 AM PST by Pilsner
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To: All

all they need is one. There is no defense against a swarm attack of a few dozen smaller craft and probably a few dozen missiles launched at the same time. If we know this, they know this. Imagine what losing a carrier would do to our Navy. A Navy already tasked with reducing forces.
It will only take one hit for Obama to withdraw from the region. He’s just looking for an excuse to make gas $10 gallon so his Voltswagon will finally sell.


35 posted on 02/13/2012 6:14:01 AM PST by newnhdad (Soylent green is people..)
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To: Pilsner

One of my buddies is a Captain in the USNR. I’ll see what he thinks.


36 posted on 02/13/2012 7:11:08 AM PST by nascarnation (DEFEAT BARAQ 2012 DEPORT BARAQ 2013)
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To: PapaBear3625

I was in the Special Boat units when we did the acceptance trials on these boats. One of the criteria was the ability to launch Stinger, surface to air missles. I don’t think a TOW would be much more difficult.


37 posted on 02/13/2012 8:35:14 AM PST by Angry_White_Man_Syndrome
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome
How did you find the platform, as far as being able to hit something at long range with a machinegun?

One thing about TOW is that you need to keep the sights centered on the target to guide the missile to it, which is why I was talking about mounting some sort of gyro-stabilized platform for the sights (with the user able to control the thing from inside the boat while looking at the target on a display).

38 posted on 02/13/2012 8:42:11 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome

PS: thank you for your service!


39 posted on 02/13/2012 8:50:35 AM PST by PapaBear3625 (In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. - George Orwell)
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To: PapaBear3625
The boat is actually a lot more stable then you might think. A good driver can make it a pretty steady ride especially in the shallow waters where they operate. We had plenty of range time shooting 3’ dia targets out by San Clemente Island. I could usually get on target within 10 to 20 rounds with 7.62 at 500 to 600 yards.
40 posted on 02/13/2012 8:57:14 AM PST by Angry_White_Man_Syndrome
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41 posted on 02/13/2012 9:00:23 AM PST by TheOldLady (FReepmail me to get ON or OFF the ZOT LIGHTNING ping list)
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To: Ooh-Ah

Can they outrun lasers?

http://m.engadget.com/default/article.do?artUrl=http://www.engadget.com/2011/04/10/us-navys-solid-state-laser-sets-boat-ablaze-video/&category=classic&postPage=1


42 posted on 02/16/2012 7:24:53 PM PST by lonestar67 (I remember when unemployment was 4.7 percent)
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