Building patrol boats is big business, especially for foreign defense needs. U.S. yards compete on a global stage in the all-important maritime security workboat arena.
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Innovation of a Different Kind: Co-Building Strategies
A 28-meter patrol craft, made of steel with an aluminum superstructure, is Swiftships’ best known and most stable Egyptian navy platform, Shehraze Shah, CEO of Swiftships Shipbuilders, said last month. The Morgan City, La.-based company introduced its parent craft to Egypt in1983 through U.S. Foreign Military Financing, a program providing security to friendly governments–including border and coast guard duties performed by the Egyptian navy.
“Thirty years later, this relationship has grown into co-production to facilitate economic development in Egypt via joint funding,” Shaw said. Vessels produced through the liaison are the basis of the company’s coastal brigade, 28-meter patrol boat.
Swiftships’ 28-meter sales to Egypt are under an International Traffic in Arms Regulations-approved program. The Egyptian Navy has requested up to thirty 28-meter vessels. Swiftships and the Egyptian navy are co-producing these vessels under FMS at Egyptian Ship Repairs and Building Co. or ESRBC in Alexandria, Egypt. The latest six vessels, PB 595-600, were constructed under FMS.
Shah said the patrol craft’s parents are thirty years old and still in operation. Hulls for new vessels are numerically cut and built in accordance with the American Shipping Bureau and High Speed Navy Craft rules. “This vessel has a long service life and utilizes materials and designs that allow it to be produced easily in different yards under proper guidance,” Shaw said. “Security advantages include ease of operation, along with minimal training and maintenance needs, thereby limiting off-time or time not patrolling.”
In this case, co-production is probably the most significant aspect of the company’s relationship with Egypt, Shaw said. “And we intend to promote this strategy globally on numerous vessels of different styles and sizes,” he said.