May 5, 2009: Iraq has made one of its 400 ton offshore patrol boats the flagship of its navy. The Fatah ("Victory"), also known as Patrol Ship 701, just completed a five month training program for its crew. The second ship of this class began its training in January.
The Fatah class vessels are Italian built and based on the Saettia Mk. 4 missile patrol boat. These ships carry a crew of 38 (including a dozen marines for boarding ships). Top speed is about 70 kilometers an hour, and they can stay at sea for about a week. Armament of the Iraqi version consists of a 30mm automatic cannon and two machine-guns. Iraq paid Italy $27 million for each of these ships, and British Royal Navy instructors trained the crews. Within three years, Iraq will assume responsibility for its maritime security. At that point, foreign warships will only operate in international waters.