The U.S. Navy’s Riverine Command Boats, or RCBs, are small, versatile boats capable of performing special operations missions in shallow waters and travelling at quick speeds. The Riverine Command Boat (RCB) is capable of offering command and control for a range of situations. RCBs can execute a variety of operations across all phases of military operations, including port security, troop insertion or extraction, inland counter-insurgency operations, organic air and fire support, organic unmanned aerial vehicle support, maritime interdiction, and command and control.
The RCB has a crew of four to eight, but can transport up to 15 personnel. It is equipped with several universal topside mounts and a remote-operated small arms mount (ROSAM) for mission-dependent armament. The ROSAM allows for a safer mission by keeping Sailors inside the boat while operating the weapon. It also has an automatic target-locking capability, which allows easier and more accurate operation during high seas and high-speed operations. Topside mounts can hold any type of manned machine gun or grenade launcher.
RCBs serve as part of a Coastal Riverine Force (CRF) unit, acting as liaison between shallow water riverine units and standard deep-water naval vessels. In 2012, the Navy merged riverine forces and Maritime Expeditionary Security Forces to form the Coastal Riverine Force. The Force is organized into two groups with seven squadrons.
Squadrons 1, 3 and 11 are home ported on the west coast while squadrons 2, 4, 8 and 10 are home ported on the east coast. The force currently consists of both active and reserve service members who man and operate more than 100 boats, ranging from 25-foot patrol boats to the new 85-foot Mark VI patrol boat.
The primary mission of a CRF is to conduct maritime security operations across all phases of military operations by defending the Navy’s high-value assets, critical maritime-infrastructure, ports and harbors both inland and on coastal waterways. This includes exercises, security force assistance and personnel exchange. A CRF is capable of conducting 24-hour operations in all weather conditions and climates.