Reports: U.S. delivers Swift-class patrol boats to Iraq Navy

For immediate release: Aug 18, 2011

BAGHDAD — The Iraq Navy has acquired two patrol boats from the United States.

The Iraq Navy accepted two Swift-class patrol boats from the U.S. Navy on Aug. 13. The surface vessels would be based at Navy headquarters in Umm Qasr and patrol the northern Gulf.

“The delivery of the U.S. built Swift patrol boats 304 and 306 increases the Iraqi Navy’s capability to effectively patrol and defend their territorial waters and critical oil infrastructure,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Kelvin Dixon, director of Iraq Training and Advising Mission-Navy and Marines, said.

The U.S. military said the Iraq Navy has ordered 12 patrol boats from Swiftship, located in Morgan City, La. So far, five of the 35-meter vessels have arrived as Iraqi crews undergo training in Louisiana.

Officials said Swift, which underwent a week of tests, would be deployed for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance as well as vessel-boarding and search-and-seizure. They said the remaining patrol boats were expected to be delivered to Iraq in 2012.

“The Iraqis have really done an outstanding job with the limited assets they had,” Cmdr. Quintin Bell, commanding officer of the training mission, said.