Marines: January 3, 2003

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: Navy special operations units are receiving 18 new, high speed boats for operations on rivers, swamps and inshore. The SOCR (Special Operations Craft Riverine) is 33 feet long, nine feet wide and only draws nine inches of water when moving fast. Top speed is 78 kilometers per hour. The aluminum boat can carry nine tons of troops and equipment. It can be carried by C-130s or heavy helicopters like the H-47 or H-53. The hull has some ballistic armor for protection from rifle bullets and shell fragments. The boat has mounts for five weapons (7.62mm and .50 caliber machine-gun or automatic grenade launchers). The boat is powered by twin 440 horsepower diesel engines. Five SOCRs were delivered in 2002, with the rest arriving this year. The boats will be used mainly to support SEALs and other commandos. Southern Iraq has an extensive system of rivers and swamps.