FINAL REPORT HIGH SPEED BOAT OPERATIONS
During exercise NORTHERN COASTS 2009 in October 2009, the Centre Of Excellence for Operations in Confined and Shallow Waters (COE CSW) conducted a High Speed Boat Operations (HSBO) trial in Eckernförde Bight, Germany. The reason for the trial was to test HSBOs in live environment in order to provide guidance to CTG/CTF-level (Commander Task Group/Commander Task Force) on the employment of HSBs.
This trial was also conducted to improve COE CSW's capabilities and analysis processes in such trials. I would like to thank all the participants who made this trial possible, special thanks to the NOCO exercise participants for hosting for the trial and WTD-71 and DSB GmbH & CO KG for their active support.
The developments in naval small craft capabilities such as Sea Tigers in Sri Lanka or regular forces in Iran developing and using vast numbers of high-speed boats are real-life examples. This HSBO trial was executed from the perspective of the users of HSBs. There are two sides of the coin in the trial objective. Once HSBOs in confined and shallow waters are understood, the defensive actions against HSBs can be developed. Nowadays, in military operations, it is not only what you do but more and more the way that you do it.
For this trial 7 different scenarios for two opposing sides (3 x FPB against 3 x HSB) were created with tactical objectives and tasks. The key findings from the trial to support the production of CTG/CTF-level guidance, indicate that:
- Situational awareness is the key to success
- Group coordination is essential
- Saturate opponent's maritime picture by manoeuvring
- High-speed boat manoeuvring is dependent on the opponent's weaknesses
- Increase your probability of success with sufficient logistics
- HSBs have a standoff capability advantage against FPBs
- Multiple-axis attacks are preferable to one-sided attacks
- Decision to attack either single or multiple target is related to the objective
- High speed is recommended in the attack phase
- Zigzagging is dependent on the opponent's formation and effector's capabilities
- The element of surprise should always be exploited
- FPBs' intemal response prccesses are time-consuming
- Actively use warning procedures and all available (non-lethal) means
- The reaction time for FPBs against attacking HSBs is remarkably short
- Engagements are at short range, sometimes even against already retreating attackers
- HSB engagements resulted in blue-on-blue engagements or mutual interference
The work will continue in further trials. The CTG/CTF-level guidance for HSBO is planned to be published in 2011.