August 20, 2010:
The Iraqi Navy has received the first of fifteen 35 meter (115 foot) patrol boats from U.S. builder Swiftship. Each of these ships cost about $20 million. They are armed with a 30mm autocannon forward and a 12.7mm machine-gun aft (in the rear) and two 7.62mm machine-guns, one on each side of the bridge. The Iraqis had most of the superstructure made bulletproof. These ships have a crew of 25 (including four officers) and endurance of about six days. Top speed is about 55 kilometers an hour. Egypt already operates smaller (25 meter) versions of this design, and are pleased with the performance of these ships. Swiftship is also providing training and maintenance support for the ships it is building. This is pretty standard for all companies that provide ships or equipment for the Iraqis.
The Iraqi Navy has been buying ships from a number of manufacturers. Last year, Iraq made one of its 400 ton offshore patrol boats the flagship of its navy. The Fatah ("Victory"), also known as Patrol Ship 701, is Italian built and based on the Saettia Mk. 4 missile patrol boat. These 53.4 meter (175 foot) 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 two years, Iraq will assume responsibility for its maritime security. At that point, foreign warships will only operate in international waters.