Special Operations: US SOCOM Stealth Boats


June 19, 2024: U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) uses a wide variety of weapons and equipment to get the job done for the army, air force, navy and marine contingents that provide the manpower for a large array of tasks.

For the navy this means building a series of fast, stealthy boats for use by SOCOM operators (specialized combat troops) to use when moving by sea. These craft include the CCH (Combat Craft Heavy). CCM (Combat Craft Medium) and CCA (Combat Craft Assault). The main difference between these three boats is that CCM is smaller and has an open rear deck while the larger CCH has a completely enclosed rear deck that enables smaller boats to be launched into the water to carry SOCOM teams to a nearby shore. Three CCH’s have been ordered and at least one is operational. CCA is the smallest and has an open cabin. So far 32 CCAs have been built and more may be purchased. These boats are 18.6 meters long, with a speed of 72 kilometers an hour and a range of over 700 kilometers. There is a crew of four and up to 19 passengers or 3.5 tons of cargo.

The CCH is also known as Sealion and is 24 meters long, displaces 25 tons and has a top speed of 72 kilometers an hour. CCH has a crew of three and can carry twelve passengers or a 1.5 ton payload. Passengers and crew have shock resistant seats to help handle the bumpy ride as the CCH moves through the water at high speed. A CCH can be transported by a C-17 aircraft, which is designed to load and carry bulky and heavy cargo. CCH’s can be launched from the well-deck of marine corps assault ships or from coastal positions using mobile travel lift and crane.

The first CCH was built a decade ago and three are now in service, with as many as five more on order. The CCH, CCM and CCA boats are constantly evolving to suit the developing needs of SOCOM operations. These boats are used to transport SOCOM operators and their equipment to shore quickly and usually at night to avoid detection.

Earlier Navy SOCOM developed and built some semi-submersible Alligator class boats. These were eventually transferred to Israel, which used them to land commandos at night on hostile shores in Lebanon or Gaza.


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