Cyclone-class patrol ship

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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
  • 13 (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 diesel engines
  • 4 × shafts
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 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.

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 hulls were decommissioned and loaned to the United States Coast Guard to be returned to the Navy in 2011, and one 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 hulls 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, Tornado, 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.

As of 2015, 10 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.[2] 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.[3]

Development and design[edit]

One of two 25mm autocannons aboard USS Chinook

In the 1980s, the U.S. Navy developed a requirement for a replacement for the PB Mk III small (65 ft (20 m)) Vietnam War-era 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.[4][5][6]

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.[4]

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.[7]


Hurricane leads six ships of Patrol Coastal Squadron 1 in the Persian Gulf, March 2015.
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 Loaned to the U.S. Coast Guard as USCGC Tempest (WPC-2), returned to Navy and recommissioned 2008 PC-2
Hurricane PC-3 1993– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-3
Monsoon PC-4 1994– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-4
Typhoon PC-5 1994– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-5
Sirocco PC-6 1994– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-6
Squall PC-7 1994– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-7
Zephyr PC-8 1994–2004, 2011- Mayport, Florida Loaned to the U.S. Coast Guard as USCGC Zephyr (WPC-8), returned to Navy and recommissioned 2011 PC-8
Chinook PC-9 1995– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-9
Firebolt PC-10 1995– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-10
Whirlwind PC-11 1995– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-11
Thunderbolt PC-12 1995– Manama, Bahrain Active PC-12
Shamal PC-13 1996–2004, 2011- Mayport, Florida Loaned to the U.S. Coast Guard as USCGC Shamal (WPC-13), returned to Navy and recommissioned 2011 PC-13
Tornado PC-14 2000–2004, 2011- Mayport, Florida Loaned to the U.S. Coast Guard as USCGC Tornado (WPC-14), returned to Navy and recommissioned 2011 PC-14

Zephyr, Shamal, and Tornado were homeported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek (Virginia) but shifted homeport to Naval Station Mayport (Florida).[3][8]




See also[edit]

In the future these ships will be replaced with Littoral combat ships of ten times their displacement.[9]


  1. ^ Raytheon Developing Longer-Range Griffin Missile -, 14 April 2014
  2. ^ Axe, David. "Congress Hates On the Navy’s Tiniest Warships" War is Boring. April 21, 2015.
  3. ^ 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 2013-07-11. Retrieved 2013-07-08.
  4. ^ a b Gardiner and Chumbley 1995, p. 627.
  5. ^ Moore 1985, p. 734.
  6. ^ Prézelin and Baker 1990, p. 828.
  7. ^ Baker 1998, pp. 1030–1031.
  8. ^ "U.S. Navy Trading Destroyers for PCs in 5th Fleet." UNSI News. Published 3 Jul 2013. Accessed 8 Jul 2013.
  9. ^ "5 More US Patrol Ships Heading to the Gulf."


  • 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 links[edit]