The Pacific NW has become a proving ground for advanced small-scale combat vessels, ranging from semi-submersible stealth boats, to updated versions of the classic patrol boat. And now, the Combat Craft Medium Mark One (CCM Mk1), shown in the exclusive photo above, has made an appearance on the mighty Columbia River.
The CCM Mk1, which is built by the increasingly Skunk Works-like boutique maritime defense contractor Oregon Iron Works Marine, was designed to at least partially replace both the slightly larger Mk V Special Operations Craft and the smaller Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat. Its design is built with extreme signature control in mind, including highly reduced radar and infrared detection.
The highly versatile Mark V Special Operations Craft the CCM Mk1 looks to partially replace:
The stealthy speedboat can fit inside a C-17 for rapid global transport, whereas its larger Mark V predecessor needed a C-5 for transport. The boat is operated by a crew of four and it is able to cart up to 19 special forces operators, sitting on impact absorbing seats, while traveling through horrible sea conditions at high-speed if need be. Although the CCM Mk1's exact range and top speed are unknown, the original requirement set a range goal of 600 miles and a speed of 50 knots and there is no information that states the CCM Mk1 did not meet those goals.
The CCM Mk1 can be armed with a remote controlled weapons turret on its bow, which usually would house a medium machine gun. Additional crew-served weapons can be mounted behind the pilothouse and cabin. It is not clear if the CCM Mk1 will be able to deploy small unmanned aircraft, such as the Scan Eagle (also a Pacific Northwest product), like the Mark V Special Operations Craft can but its rear deck seems like it could be configured for a multitude of uses.
Special Operations Command describes the CCM concept as a "modern, clandestine, agile, adaptive, technically relevant, reliable, and operationally capable combatant craft system." With this in mind, primary missions for the CCM Mk1 will include clandestine insertion of special forces, search and seizure, counter-narcotics and counter terror operations, personnel recovery, direct action and reconnaissance. The design is optimized for a medium threat and below combat environment, so yeah, this boat is made to get shot at and shoot back. It is said her ballistic protection is at level 4, which means her armor can defeat small arms and nearby fragmenting mortar rounds.
One of the few official pics/renderings of the CCM Mk1
The design is built with the Kongsberg C4I ( Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence) 'Cortex' combat suite. This system allows for various sensors, communications nodes, data-links and weapon systems to be integrated together and their infor displayed via an 'open architecture' user interface. This system is said to be one of the most advanced and adaptable maritime C4I in the world, and allows for virtually unlimited upgrades and configurations. There are four flat panel work stations on the CCM Mk1 that can all pull up the same info.
Unlike some of Oregon Iron Works' more exotic creations, the CCM Mk1 could very well result in a highly lucrative series production craft, with at least thirty units and over $400M in production dollars up for grabs through the early part of the next decade. Depending on demand and how this new craft performs, even more boats could be procured beyond those initial thirty units.
The Combat Craft Medium Mark One is slated to reach initial operating capability by the end of 2015. As initial low-rate production ramps up, the stealthy boats should reach full operation capability by around the turn of the decade. In the meantime, if you are driving between Oregon and Washington, keep an eye out for this high-speed clandestine SEAL hauler as it is not everyday you see a stealthy cigarette boat made for taking on the world's most dangerous individuals and organizations.
Image credit Copyright & All Rights Reserved Paul Carter (aside from overhead picture/rendering with is via OIW). Make sure to check out more of Paul's work here.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com