Cyclone-class patrol ship

The Cyclone-class patrol ships are a class of United States Navy coastal patrol boats. Most of these ships were launched between 1992 and 1994. The primary mission of these ships is coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance, an important aspect of littoral operations outlined in the Navy's strategy, "Forward...From the Sea." These ships also provide full mission support for U.S. Navy SEALs and other special operations forces.

USS Hurricane (PC-3), USS Typhoon (PC-5) and USS Chinook (PC-9) underway in March 2015.JPG
USS Hurricane, USS Typhoon and USS Chinook, in the Persian Gulf in March 2015.
Class overview
Builders: Bollinger Shipyards
In commission: 1993–present
Planned: 16
Completed: 14
Cancelled: 2
  • 10 (US Navy)
  • 1 (Philippine Navy)
General characteristics
Type: Coastal patrol ship
  • 328.5 long tons (333.8 t) (light load)
  • 331 long tons (336 t)
Length: 179 ft (55 m)
Beam: 25 ft (7.6 m)
Draft: 7.5 ft (2.3 m)
Installed power: 3,350 shp (2,500 kW)
  • 4 × Paxman 16RP200- 1-CM diesel engines
  • 4 × shafts, Reintjes reverse reduction gear box[1]
Speed: 35 kn (65 km/h; 40 mph)
Range: 2,000–2,500 nmi (3,700–4,600 km; 2,300–2,900 mi) at 12 kn (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Crew: 4 officers, 24 enlisted personnel

The Cyclone-class ships are assigned to Naval Special Warfare. Of the 14 ships, nine originally operated out of the Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia, and four originally operated from the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. These ships provide the United States Naval Special Warfare Command with a fast, reliable platform that can respond to emergent requirements in a low intensity conflict environment. Three ships were decommissioned and loaned to the United States Coast Guard to be returned to the Navy in 2011, while lead ship Cyclone was transferred to the Philippine Navy. Shamal, Tornado, and Zephyr were returned to the U.S. Navy in 2011 and placed back in commission.

The ships that were on loan to the U.S. Coast Guard were used in a variety of roles, including search and rescue, interception, boarding, and inspection of foreign freighters arriving at United States ports.

In September 2010, the decision was made to recall all of the remaining ships of the class due to fatigue damage to their hulls. The class was designed for a lifespan of roughly 15 years. All but the newest member of the class, USS Tornado (PC-14), have been in service longer. The vessels will be inspected and a decision will be made whether to refit them or to decommission the ships.[needs update]

As of 2015, ten of the U.S. Navy's 13 Cyclone-class patrol ships were deployed to the Persian Gulf to deal with a potential conflict with Iran.[3] The remaining three ships of the class are slated to be transferred to Naval Station Mayport in Florida to work primarily with drug interdiction work with U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO) / U.S. Fourth Fleet.[4]

Development and designEdit

One of two 25mm autocannons aboard USS Chinook (PC 9)
USS Hurricane (PC-3) leads six ships of Patrol Coastal Squadron 1 in the Persian Gulf, March 2015.
Cyclone-class patrol craft USS Firebolt (PC 10) passing the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown in Virginia, USA. This starboard side view shows the vessel’s splinter camouflage scheme.

In the 1980s, the U.S. Navy developed a requirement for a replacement for the Vietnam War-era PB Mk III small (65 ft (20 m)) patrol boats used to transport SEAL teams. The first attempt to replace the PB Mk IIIs led to an order being placed in 1984 for a stealthy surface effect ship, the Special Warfare Craft, Medium, or SWCM, with a length of about 83 ft (25 m) and a displacement of 150 long tons (150 t). The SWCM, nicknamed "Sea Viking", was a failure, however, and construction of the prototype was abandoned in 1987.[5][6][7]

After the failure of the innovative SWCM, it was decided to replace the PB Mk IIIs with a simple development of an existing design rather than wait for an entirely new design to be produced and developed. Bollinger Shipyards proposed a development of the Vosper Thornycroft Province-class fast attack craft built for Oman and Kenya, and this was selected by the U.S. Navy.[5]

At 56.7 m (186 ft), the new design, at first designated PBC (Patrol Boat Coastal), and later PC, was much larger than the boats that they were to replace. It was planned to build 16 PBCs to replace the 17 PB Mk IIIs, with first deliveries expected in 1991. The program was stopped at 14 boats, however, as it was realised that the PC was too large for the SEAL delivery role.[8]

Operational careerEdit

Following the 2003 occupation of Iraq, the Cyclones were deployed to guard Iraq's offshore oil terminal.[9] When Iraq took over responsibility for the terminal's defense, in 2005, ten of the Cyclone boats remained in the Persian Gulf, performing other patrol duties.[citation needed]

Ships in classEdit

Ship Hull No. Commissioned–
Homeport Status NVR Page
Cyclone PC-1 1993–2000 Philippines Transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard in February 2000 as USCGC Cyclone (WPC-1), transferred to the Philippine Navy in March 2004. Now BRP Mariano Alvarez (PS-38). PC-1
Tempest PC-2 1993–2005, 2008- Manama, Bahrain Lent to the U.S. Coast Guard as USCGC Tempest (WPC-2), returned to Navy and recommissioned in 2008 PC-2
Hurricane PC-3 1993–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-3
Monsoon PC-4 1994–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-4
Typhoon PC-5 1994–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-5
Sirocco PC-6 1994–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-6
Squall PC-7 1994–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-7
Zephyr PC-8 1994–2004, (w/ USCG 2004-2011), 2011-2021 Mayport, Florida Decommissioned on 17 February 2021[10] PC-8
Chinook PC-9 1995–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-9
Firebolt PC-10 1995–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-10
Whirlwind PC-11 1995–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-11
Thunderbolt PC-12 1995–present Manama, Bahrain Active PC-12
Shamal PC-13 1996–2004, (w/ USCG 2004-2011), 2011-2021 Mayport, Florida Decommissioned on 16 February 2021[11] PC-13
Tornado PC-14 2000–2004, (w/USCG 2004-2011), 2011-2021 Mayport, Florida Decommissioned on 18 February 2021.[12] Currently awaiting sale to a foreign military partner.[13] PC-14

Zephyr, Shamal, and Tornado were homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek (Virginia) but shifted homeport to Naval Station Mayport (Florida).[4][14] All three were decommissioned in February 2021.




See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Paxman Secures U.S. Navy Contract To Supply 32 Diesel Engines For New Patrol Boat Program". Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  2. ^ Raytheon Developing Longer-Range Griffin Missile -, 14 April 2014
  3. ^ Axe, David. "Congress Hates On the Navy’s Tiniest Warships" War is Boring. April 21, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Cavas, Christopher P. "PCs on the move – to Central Command." Intercepts. Published 3 Jul 2013. Accessed 8 Jul 2013". Archived from the original on 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  5. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 627.
  6. ^ Moore 1985, p. 734.
  7. ^ Prézelin and Baker 1990, p. 828.
  8. ^ Baker 1998, pp. 1030–1031.
  9. ^ David Axe (2020-02-20). "Forget Big Ships: These Cyclone Patrol Boats Would Fight The Navy's War On Iran". National Interest magazine. Retrieved 2020-02-20. If the United States and Iran go to war in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Navy’s smallest warships could be the first to see combat.
  10. ^ "USS Zephyr was decommissioned today after 26 years of service".
  11. ^ "USS Shamal Decommissioned at NS Mayport".
  12. ^ a b "Patrol Coastal Ships Decommissioning Ceremony".
  13. ^ "The Navy wants to get rid of its nearly brand new patrol boats".
  14. ^ "U.S. Navy Trading Destroyers for PCs in 5th Fleet." UNSI News. Published 3 Jul 2013. Accessed 8 Jul 2013.


  • Baker, A.D. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1998–1999. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1998. ISBN 1-55750-111-4.
  • Gardiner, Robert and Stephen Chumbley. Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships 1947–1995. Annapolis, Maryland USA: Naval Institute Press, 1995. ISBN 1-55750-132-7.
  • Moore, John. Jane's Fighting Ships 1985–86. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1985. ISBN 0 7106-0814-4.
  • Prézelin, Bernard and Baker, A.D. The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1990/1991. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: Naval Institute Press, 1990. ISBN 0-87021-250-8.

This article includes information collected from the Naval Vessel Register, which, as a U.S. government publication, is in the public domain.

External linksEdit