Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Metal Shark boats of Louisiana is to build as many as 50 PB(X) patrol boats for the U.S. Navy under a contract with a potential value of $90 million.
The craft are to replace the Navy's Expeditionary Combat Command's Coastal Riverine Forces vessels.
In addition to the boats, Metal Shark is to supply the Navy with boat trailers, spares parts, training packages and technical support.
"PB(X) was one of the most challenging and most sought-after U.S. military boat procurement opportunities in recent history; the result of a years-long process pitting Metal Shark's engineering and manufacturing capabilities against multiple leading U.S. naval architect firms and nearly all of our competitors," said Metal Shark's Chief Executive Officer Chris Allard. "The award of PB(X) to Metal Shark is the result of a tremendous team effort and I couldn't be more proud of our people."
Metal Shark said the contract is the culmination of a multi-year process by the Navy to select the replacement for the fleet of force protection boats. The Navy intends to replace about 100 to 160 of its existing 25-foot and 34-foot CRF patrol boats over the next 15 years.
Metal Shark's PB(X) design is a 40-foot, welded-aluminum pilothouse patrol boat. It is powered by twin diesel inboards and water jets, and can achieve speeds of more than 35 knots.
The PB(X) features ballistic protection, and can be equipped with both crew-served and remotely operated weapons systems.
The boats will be constructed at Metal Shark's Jeanerette, La., production facility.