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    Navy SEALs Enhance Tactical Edge with CCM Boats Ready to Deploy Drone Swarms

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    At the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Week conference, a detailed presentation showcased a launcher featuring a multi-pod system capable of accommodating eight or more pods.

    Planners within the US special operations community are exploring avenues for their Combat Craft Medium (CCM) vessels, primarily utilized for the insertion and extraction of Navy SEALs, to deploy loitering munitions alongside other combat-support payloads.

    The CCM, a 60-foot-long vessel boasting a maximum speed of 52 knots, is manned by a crew of four individuals and can accommodate up to 19 additional passengers, with a total carrying capacity of 4,535 kilograms.

    It boasts a cruising range of 600 nautical miles. Introduced in 2015 by shipbuilder Vigor Industrial, the CCM patrol boat was designed as a replacement for the rigid hull inflatable boat.

    Over the past four years, the Special Operations Command has been actively engaged in the integration of a launcher kit onto the CCM platform.

    This pod system aims to facilitate the deployment of “standoff, loitering, man-in-the-loop weapons systems” capable of targeting individuals, groups, vehicles, and small oceangoing craft, as outlined in program materials cited by Defense News.

    Discussions surrounding the requirements and future trajectory of the CCM program were a focal point during the recent Special Operations Forces (SOF) Week, with officials providing insights and commentary.

    Although the aforementioned payloads represent the primary lethal combat assets, Commander Marty Burns, program manager for maritime surface systems, emphasizes that the launcher must also accommodate combat support equipment such as surveillance drones, electromagnetic warfare pods, or sensor packages tailored for a diverse range of missions.

    During the Special Operations Forces (SOF) Week conference, attendees were presented with a visual representation of the launcher, featuring a multi-pod system capable of accommodating eight or more pods designed to house both ordnance and combat support equipment.

    Officials at the SOF Week indicated that final testing and a live fire demonstration of the launcher module are scheduled to take place by late 2024 or early 2025.

    Upon the conclusion of the testing phase and the approval of the government-owned design kit for installation, the command’s fleet of 31 CCMs will undergo gradual modification, ensuring that a portion of the inventory remains operationally available at all times.

    The Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of the CCM, Vigor International, is expected to be involved in the installation process and hull modification.

    Captain Jared Wyrick, the US Navy’s SOCOM program executive officer for maritime, disclosed that the command is concurrently developing a boat replacement known as the CCM Mk2.

    A paramount tactical consideration in the installation of munitions launching pods onto the CCM is the reduction of heat signatures to evade detection by adversary infrared sensors.

    The US Navy has the option of selecting the Switchblade series of loitering munitions, which are propeller-driven and deployed through a tube. Whether they opt for these drones or any other series of operationally active loitering munitions manufactured by a US ally is yet to be determined.

    Relevant articles:
    US Navy SEALs Want their CCM Boats to Launch Loitering Munitions, Surveillance Drones, The Aviationist
    SEALs want loitering munitions aboard insert/extract patrol boats, Defense News
    Navy’s Secretive Fleet Of Stealthy Special Operations Boats Set To Evolve, The War Zone
    US Air Force’s 80-Hour Endurance ULTRA Surveillance Drone Deployed To The Middle East, The Aviationist

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