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Monday, March 20, 2023

Ukraine to get at least 3 Mark VI boats in 2022

by Illia PonomarenkoJanuary 4, 2022 7:51 pm
A U.S. Navy Mark VI boat performs high-speed maneuvers in a coastal command patrol boat during a training exercise off San Diego, the United States, on Sept. 27, 2013. (U.S. Navy)

Ukraine expects to get at least three brand new Mark IV patrol boats in 2022, as part of a $600 million deal approved by the U.S. government under the Foreign Military Sale program.

"There should be three or more," Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova was quoted as saying on Jan. 4. "We're working on allocating resources and everything else to increase their quantity."

The boats are produced by U.S. manufacturer SAFE Boats International. They are meant to reinforce Ukraine's obsolete navy that lost 80% of its power and infrastructure when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

The program approved by the U.S. Department of State in June 2020 initially envisaged the production of 16 vessels, six of which are supposed to be provided at no cost to Ukraine. However, in March 2021, a new $125 million defense aid package passed by the U.S. government included funds to produce two more vessels for Ukraine.

SAFE Boats signed a government contract to produce the first two Mark VIs in late 2020, and then a new deal to produce six more vessels on Oct. 1.

Ukraine will become the second country to use this design. The U.S. navy has operated Mark VIs since 2016.

Ukraine's navy calls the 25-meter vessels "the most modern platform" for defense of littoral waters and naval rapid reaction forces.

The boats manufactured for Ukraine are expected to carry MSI Seahawk A2 gun systems with 30-millimeter Mk44S Bushmaster cannons.

According to Ukraine's navy, Mark VIs will also carry short-range missile systems and be used to defend Ukrainian ports, communications, and maritime borders in the Black and the Azov seas.

Illia Ponomarenko
Illia Ponomarenko
Defense reporter

Illia Ponomarenko is the defense and security reporter at the Kyiv Independent. He has reported about the war in eastern Ukraine since the conflict’s earliest days. He covers national security issues, as well as military technologies, production, and defense reforms in Ukraine. Besides, he gets deployed to the war zone of Donbas with Ukrainian combat formations. He has also had deployments to Palestine and the Democratic Republic of the Congo as an embedded reporter with UN peacekeeping forces. Illia won the Alfred Friendly Press Partners fellowship and was selected to work as USA Today's guest reporter at the U.S. Department of Defense.

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