Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cyclone Class Tour

ComNavOps occasionally takes a day off from guiding the Navy to enjoy himself and today was such a day.  I had the great good fortune to take a tour of the Cyclone class ship the USS Hurricane, PC-3.  The crew, as has been the case on every ship I've ever toured, was simply marvelous - opening their ship to us, the public, answering the same basic questions over and over again, and genuinely happy to do it.  The crew's pride in their ship is quite obvious and a pleasure to experience.

Cyclone Class Patrol Vessel
 The Cyclones are an odd case in Navy history.  Like other classes of small ship built by the Navy, they've been shunted aside by "big" Navy despite seemingly being able to fill a need.  The Navy needs small patrol vessels capable of being the policeman on the corner.  The Philippines, various places in Africa, and the Mid East, among other locations, could all benefit from this type of small patrol ship.  These vessels also seem to be good special ops platforms for small, quiet insertions.  However, despite the apparent usefulness of these ships, the Navy has never embraced them and has tried repeatedly to give them to the Coast Guard and other countries.  Even when they were used by the Navy, it was with reluctance.  It seems a shame.

Mk38 Gun on Cyclone Class
 A follow-on class of this type of ship, possibly with somewhat beefed up weapons systems and special ops support, would seem a natural fit for today's Navy - patrol, interdiction, anti-piracy, boarding, show-the-flag, third world training, etc.  These ships cost $20M when built and even in today's hyper-inflated cost era should still be a bargain.

Come on Navy, think small!

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