Part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s $400 million aid package includes sending Ukraine another 40 armored riverine boats, adding to the 18 ships already sent in June.
Six of the previously administered boats were made by Louisiana-based Metal Shark. The others have not been detailed but are expected to operate in the Black Sea. The package includes 45 refurbished or upgraded T-72B tanks for Ukraine’s effort to stop the advancing Russian forces. The 40-foot long “40 Defiant” by Metal Shark, often called the 40 PB for patrol boat, was selected by the U.S. Navy back in 2017 to replace existing Coastal Riverine Force boats. The vessels are powered by two Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel engines with twin water jets, enabling speeds up to 40 knots. The aluminum monohull of the boats is equipped with ballistic protection. According to the manufacturer, Metal Shark, “The 40 Defiant has been designed to carry a power projection capability far beyond that of a traditional force protection boat. The vessel, therefore, boasts a superlative array of capabilities. Available ballistic protection enables the vessel to sustain extended firefights, allowing crews to respond with overwhelming force to asymmetric threats such as swarm attacks while remaining secure and protected from hostile fire.” The U.S. Navy can equip the 40 PB with remotely operated weapons. Naval News reported they could employ crew-operated weapons, including twin M2 .50 caliber Browning heavy machines guns, an MK.19 automatic grenade launcher and an M240 7.56 mm medium machine gun, with all of these weapons being able to rapidly switch to other pedestal-mounted systems.