|Mk VI Patrol Boat|
The usual disclaimer (which no one takes note of): This is NOT intended to be a fair and balanced simulation of combat. It is intended to illustrate concepts and tactics in a more entertaining and understandable format than a simple listing. Enjoy it as such._______________________________________
Mk VI Story – Gunboat Diplomacy
The eight Mk VI boats of the squadron crept silently through the night toward the Iranian naval base facilities with the MkVI-ISR surveillance boat in the lead, cautiously sniffing the electronic air for any sign that they had been discovered.
The boats had been working their way up the coast, hugging the shoreline, with the ISR boat scanning the shore with IR sensors, monitoring communication signals, and plotting radar sources. So far, there was no indication that the Iranians were aware of their presence.
Stealth was vital for this mission, as was plausible deniability. The new Administration had decided that
finally gone too far. The seizure of US
boats and crews a few years ago, followed by numerous taunting harassments of
Navy ships by Iranian small boats, followed by a period of harassments of
carriers by UAVs intruding into the carriers aircraft operating space had made
a laughingstock of the US Navy and US political resolve on the world
stage. Now, the most recent series of
mock attack runs by Iranian small boats on US warships had been a step too far
for the new Administration and the President was determined to send an
unequivocal message that the days of “strategic patience” were over. Iran
So it was that the squadron of MkVI boats were approaching one of the naval bases that the Iranian boats operated from. The squadron’s orders were to clandestinely wreak as much damage on the base and boat facilities as possible.
Tomahawk and Air Force bomber attacks had been considered but ruled out because they would leave far too much evidence of their presence. The President wanted plausible deniability as part of a larger political game. He had no problem with letting
had hit them and why but he wanted no blatant evidence. The use of the MkVI boats would maintain the
thinly veiled, plausible deniability that would prevent Iran from claiming
proof of Iran
involvement on the world stage and escalating the incident. Of course, if they did choose to escalate
without the benefit of clear and overwhelming evidence … well, there were assets and plans in place
for just that eventuality – and that would be communicated via back door
connections, as well, once the attack was completed. US
As the squadron, throttled down to bare steerageway, rounded the headland that partially sheltered the port, it became clear that the Iranian base was suffering from the fruits of its repeated successes. In a word, they had become complacent and were taking no great security precautions. They flatly did not believe that
had the political will to
take any substantive action against them, especially inside their territorial
waters and against a base on their mainland. America
The squadron spread out with the five MKVI-Attack boats in a line abreast and a bit in front. The two MKVI-AA (anti-air) boats hung back a bit, covering each flank and the ISR boat dropped further back to continue monitoring.
The base was clearly visible about two miles ahead – well within rocket range of the attack boats. Though not guided, the Hydra 70 2.75” rockets were computer controlled by the boats fire control system to achieve the best aiming aspect by the launcher. Each boat had several pre-assigned targets and now each rocket launcher twitched as the final aiming corrections for the first round of targets were made. The boats each carried four rocket pods with each pod containing 19 rockets. That gave a total of 76 rockets per boat and the five attack boats carried a total of 380 rockets. Each boat would retain 10 rockets for defense on the way out. The base would receive the remaining 330 rockets.
The boats idled, waiting silently for the pre-determined launch time. At the exact same moment, all five boats began firing. The initial salvos exploded out of their launchers and sped toward the targets at 2400 ft/sec. Travel time was only about 5 seconds. The base lit up as the rockets exploded on their targets and secondary explosions added their fireworks. Some of the rocket warheads were point detonation and some were air burst, depending on their assigned targets. What wasn’t destroyed outright in the wave of explosions was shredded by shrapnel.
Even before the first rockets hit their targets, the rocket launchers were adjusting their aim for the second round of targets. And so it continued until all the assigned targets were serviced and the rockets were expended.
Piers, boats, fuel storage tanks, control facilities, munitions storage, and warehouses were all targeted and, now, were all burning furiously. Notably, a pair of barracks for the Iranian boat crews had been allocated ten rockets each. The destruction was devastating and, this late at night, most of the Iranian crews were in the barracks. The Iranian death toll would be high and this was another aspect to the message being sent. The
would hold individuals
accountable and the prospect of enemy deaths would no longer inhibit military
On one of the boats, a Hellfire launcher trained slightly to one side to target a large, lavishly decorated house that Iranian officers and leadership used as their quarters and as a luxury headquarters. In fact, the base commander and his family occupied one wing of the house. Four Hellfire missiles shot off the launcher and impacted the house. There was nothing but rubble left when the dust settled. This was yet another part of the message – that the fear of collateral damage would no longer unduly restrict US military actions.
As the boats completed their assigned attacks, silence settled back over the squadron and the boats throttled up a bit. Led by the ISR boat, the squadron reversed course and began their return. Surprisingly, they did not immediately throttle up to full power and begin a high speed run straight to the safety of international waters, twelve miles out to sea. Instead, they began to slowly retrace their ingress route. It was assumed that as
react the first place they would look was on a direct line to open waters. Iran
The boats hugged the shore, proceeding slowly along the coast. They would continue this way for several miles before breaking veering off to international waters. The exposure time was longer but the planners had concluded that the overall safety was increased.
After about 15 minutes, the ISR boat noted indications of helos and UAVs swarming towards the area and a few Iranian boats that had survived the destruction appeared to be putting to sea. Sure enough, the majority were heading directly out to sea, right where the squadron would have been if they had made a direct run for safety.
After a few more minutes, the ISR boat spotted an infrared heat source several hundred yards ahead and about a hundred yards inland. It appeared to be an Iranian truck of some sort with several people milling around. They were likely Iranian soldiers ordered to look for intruders.
The squadron was prepared for this eventuality and this was why each boat had retained 10 rockets. The ISR boat issued the first spoken command of the evening and assigned one of the attack boats to eliminate the threat. A minute passed as the target was acquired and then five rockets ignited out of their pod. One of the rockets hit the vehicle near the cab and a second exploded on the ground almost beneath the vehicle. It was shredded and flipped over in a spectacular fireworks display. The remaining three rockets impacted in the area, killing or severely wounding the presumed soldiers. This was further proof that the
military would not be unduly constrained by fear of collateral damage. The vehicle and people were almost certainly
Iranian army and the squadron would take no chances. US
The squadron continued on their way. Several more minutes passed and the ISR boat noted a small UAV about 3 miles out and heading in their general direction, possibly attracted by the attack on the vehicle. Again, a brief message designated one of the anti-air boats to deal with the intruder, if it continued to close.
The AA boat’s Mk38 Mod 2, 25 mm remote control gun tracked the UAV. The UAV was a small one and flying low, probably using an optical scanner of some sort, looking for the source of the base attack. The squadron was tucked inshore and throttled way down, leaving no wake. Unless the UAV had an infrared scanner, it wasn’t likely to see the boats from a couple of miles away.
The UAV continued to close. As it approached three quarters of a mile, the Mk38 fired. The first short burst missed but before the UAV operator could react and veer off, a second burst connected and sent the UAV tumbling to the sea.
By this time, the squadron was far enough away from the base to turn out to sea and head for international waters. Besides, they had begun to attract attention and a change of direction would be a good idea. Turning perpendicular to the shoreline, the squadron increased speed to 12 kts.
Ten minutes later, the ISR boat detected a helicopter headed their way. The flanking anti-air boat needed no directions for this encounter. As the helo reached five miles, the boat’s Stinger mount launched. The missile tracked the low, slow helo and impacted with a brilliant flash of light and a couple of seconds later, a sharp crack of thunder. The helo wasn’t instantly killed but did immediately veer off, losing altitude steadily. It likely wouldn’t make it back to its base.
It was obvious the Iranians were beginning to realize that the squadron was the source of the attack so there was no further need for stealth. The boats throttled up to 37 kts to complete the run to international waters. At that speed, the 12 mile territorial limit was just a 16 minute run away.
However, 12 minutes into the dash, the ISR boat detected communications signals from ahead and offset a bit to starboard. One or more surviving Iranian boats must have put to sea and were now being vectored towards the squadron or, perhaps, had just stumbled into the right location. Either way, it didn’t matter.
The AA boats dropped back a bit and the attack boats formed a line abreast, oriented towards the threat. Two Iranian small boats appeared in the attack boat’s IR scans, about two miles out. The ISR boat allocated one Iranian boat target to each of the two closest attack boats. The boat’s Hellfire launchers trained and fired one missile each. One of the target boats exploded in a blinding flash. The other missile clipped a wave top just before impact and skidded above the boat – a clean miss. This prompted the lucky, surviving boat to launch its rockets in an immediate and, probably, unaimed attack. The rockets arced over the squadron and impacted the water well beyond the boats.
The attack boat that had fired the errant missile immediately launched another missile and this one found its mark, demolishing the Iranian boat.
With no further threats, the squadron resumed its dash to international waters where a Burke destroyer was waiting to escort the boats back to their mothership.
The MKVI boats described in the story were one of three specialized, conceptual versions, as described below. The boats operate in squadrons with types being mixed and matched according to the mission.
Mk VI Anti-Air
- 2x Stinger Pod Mounts, 4 missiles/pod, 2 pods per mount, 16 missiles total and ready, mounts fore and aft, FIM-92, effective firing range 5 miles
- Mk 38 Mod 2 Remote Weapon Station, effective range 9800 ft (1.8 miles), max firing range 22,000 ft (4 miles)
- 4x twin 0.50 cal M2 machine gun, 1 mile range
Mk VI Attack
- 2x AGM-114 Hellfire Pod Mounts, 4 missiles/pod, 2 pods per mount, 16 missiles total and ready, mounts fore and aft, effective range 4 miles
- 2.75” Rocket Pod Mounts, 4x on 2 mounts, 76 rockets total, Hydra 70 rockets, 8700 yd (5 miles) effective firing range, 11,000 yd (6.25 miles) maximum range
Mk VI Surveillance
- Signal collection and analysis electronics
- Passive signal triangulation electronics
- Radar threat receivers
- Laser detectors
- EO/IR imaging sensors providing hemispherical coverage
- IR tracking sensors