Through a foreign military
sales program that sends ocean vessels to Iraq, officials hope to facilitate stability in the area.
Though operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn officially have come to an end, U.S. military support to the nation that contained the conflicts has not. The U.S. Navy has completed its transfer of platforms to its counterpart in the Middle East via a program to arm the developing sea service for its maritime challenges. Training and other support activities will continue in this effort designed to shore up maritime security in the region as well as to improve relations between the recent partners.
By the end of this year, the U.S. Navy plans to have delivered all 14 of the purchased ships for a total of 12 35-meter coastal patrol boats and two 60-meter offshore support vessels (OSVs) to the Iraqi navy through an approved Foreign Military Sales program. The patrol boats are fast-attack vessels that can reach speeds of 30 knots and are armed with a 30-millimeter gun weapon system built to operate in littoral waters. They are designed to accommodate a crew of 25 members. Since 2010, these coastal craft have been delivered incrementally, with one delivered that year, five delivered in 2011, and three provided this year in March.
The two OSVs were delivered late in 2012. These multifunctional ships support oil production platforms through command and control functions associated with the security of those platforms and other afloat forces. Sailors also can transport platform crews and supplies on the OSVs and assist other patrol boat crews with provisions, repairs and refueling. Each vessel is equipped with guns and fast-attack boats as well as a vertical replenishment deck to facilitate the transfer of people and supplies.