Metal Shark won the contract to produce the U.S. Navy's
next-generation patrol boat, the PB(X), the replacement for the
fleet of force protection boats currently in use with Navy
Expeditionary Combad Command's Coastal Riverine Forces (CRF).
Subject to annual appropriations, the Navy intends to replace
approximately 100 to 160 of its existing 25-ft. and 34-ft. CRF
patrol boats with the larger and more modern PB(X) platform over
the next 15 years.
The Navy has placed an initial, immediate order for eleven of the
new vessels. Under the terms of the award, potentially worth over
$90 million, Metal Shark will build up to 50 PB(X) vessels for
the Navy, along with trailers, spares and training packages, and
"PB(X) was one of the most challenging and most sought-after U.S.
military boat procurement opportunities in recent history; the
result of a years-long process pitting Metal Shark's engineering
and manufacturing capabilities against multiple leading U.S.
naval architect firms and nearly all of our competitors," said
Metal Shark's CEO Chris Allard. "The award of PB(X) to Metal
Shark is the result of a tremendous team effort and I couldn't be
more proud of our people."
The winning PB(X) design is a 40-ft., welded-aluminum pilothouse
patrol boat designed by Metal Shark's in-house engineering team.
Leveraging its extensive experience with military patrol craft of
similar size, Metal Shark designed a bespoke craft ideally suited
to accommodate all mission parameters.
Immediately identifiable thanks to its chiseled, angular profile
and a unique faceted hull, the PB(X) is powered by twin diesel
inboards and water jets. Metal Shark designed a moderate aft
deadrise, wide-waterplane, sharp-entry hull form that not only
achieves 35+ knot sprint speeds while displaying superb dynamic
stability in a range of conditions, but also offers enhanced
handling and greatly reduced operating cost at the 10-15 knot
escort and cruise speeds where the vessel will spend the bulk of
its operational life. The PB(X) features ballistic protection and
can be armed with a range of crew-served and remotely operated
In order to fully optimize the hull and propose a more mature
design, Metal Shark built a PBX running prototype hull,
designated PB(X)-P1, which was extensively tested in a wide range
of operating conditions. This test platform became the basis for
Metal Shark's resistance, powering, and weight testing, and
determined the final configuration proposed to the Navy.
"The testing of PB(X)-P1 validated our design choices, mitigated
our areas of concern, and resulted in a design proven to perform
exactly as expected under real-world loads and conditions,"
explained Mr. Allard. "We made this up-front investment to
eliminate any and all potential concerns and to deliver a
thoroughly tested and proven, next-generation patrol boat
platform to the U.S. Navy."
The PB(X) will be built at Metal Shark's Jeanerette, Louisiana
production facility, which specializes in the rapid, serialized
assembly of military patrol boats. Other significant military
fleet builds currently underway at the facility include ongoing
production of the Navy's 32' Force Protection Boat - Medium
(FPB-M) and 26' High Speed Maneuverable Surface Target (HSMST),
and the U.S. Coast Guard's 29' Response Boat - Small (RBS).