US sending 23 Metal Shark military boats to Ukraine

(JEANERETTE, La.) — In an effort to help Ukraine better protect its coastline, waterways and ports, the United States is providing the country with a range of defense articles, including 23 welded-aluminum military vessels built by Louisiana-based Metal Shark.

Last week it was announced that six of the U.S. Navy’s new 40 PB maritime combat vessels would be sent to Ukraine as part of a $450 million security assistance package. Built by Metal Shark and delivered to the Navy in 2021 as part of a currently active defense contract for 50 vessels, these next-generation vessels feature six MK 16 weapons foundations plus a large forward foundation for stabilized, remote-operated, optically-guided MK 49/MK 50 weapons systems. Ballistic protection enables the 40 PB to sustain extended firefights, allowing crews to respond with overwhelming force while remaining secure and protected from hostile fire.

Metal Shark U.S. Navy 40 PB. Metal Shark photo

At Metal Shark’s Franklin and Jeanerette facilities, production is well underway on 17 additional vessels for Ukraine, including 10 38-foot Defiant pilothouse patrol vessels, four 38-foot Defiant center-console patrol vessels, and three 36-foot Fearless high-performance military interceptor vessels. All of these vessels are proven military platforms optimized for the Ukraine mission.

The boats are being built and delivered as part of a long-range foreign policy strategy years in the making, but recent events in Ukraine have caused an acceleration of the timelines. As a result, vessels will begin shipping immediately.

“Metal Shark has been working closely with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev since 2019 to develop the strategy now being implemented to support Ukraine’s maritime capabilities, so it is fulfilling to see that the vessels will arrive when they are most needed,” said Henry Irizarry, Metal Shark’s vice president of international business development. “Metal Shark provides next-generation, proven platforms to partner nations, but most importantly, we create long-term partnerships with end users to train boat crews and provide seamless technical support to assure 24/7 operational readiness.”

— Metal Shark

By Rich Miller