I operated SeaFox's for a couple of years while stationed at SBU-12 at the
same time Chief Price was there. I just retired from the Navy and am in the
process of moving, however if you're still interested in info on them, I have
one of the old BIB's (Boat Information Books) minus the classified section of
course, which I can copy to you once I get moved. The actual designator was
SWCL (Special Warfare Craft Light).
The boat was designed for a multitude of tasks, but it's primary mission
was over the horizon insertion/extraction of SEAL elements. It operated in
water 3 ft to 300 fathoms deep and could travel approximately 300 miles round
trip in open ocean. It was deployable by trailer, which could be placed inside
of aircraft, it could be placed in a deployment cradle inside of a well decks
or on the main deck of Naval Amphibious ships.
Armament consisted of two M-60 (Charlie or Delta model) 7.62mm machineguns
on the forward structure and two Browning M2HB .50 Cal machineguns aft. The
..50's were interchangeable with M-19 grenade launchers.
The boat was designed with what some may refer to as "stealth"
technology: The paint was non metallic, the interior of the engine compartment
was shielded against radar, the Radar and Comm masts were covered with RAM
(radar absorbent material), the exhaust was muffled and discharged under
water. It also had some other IR reduction qualities, etc.
The craft was designed to operate at speeds in excess of 40 knots in sea
state 4, and was powered by twin detroit diesel 6V92TA engines. I can
personally attest to the fact that with a good engineer, a steady hand, and
balls of brass, the boat would indeed perform at that speed. A rumor was that
the boat had actually been designed for speeds in excess of 60 knots, however
some Admiral took a ride, got the snot scared out of himself and had the
design speed reduced. I'm sure it was only a rumor but I wouldn't have wanted
to go that fast in one either! It was an awesome boat to look at, and appeared
to be doing 60 knots while tied to the pier. Fun to operate is an understatement.
There were several design flaws in the craft as Mike Price stated. The bow
design was sloped to allow a clear view while transiting at speed,
unfortunately this led to the boat plowing at idle speeds. Even worse was that
the boat had a tendency to dive, becoming momentarily submerged when operated
in heavy seas. With or without a SEAL squad onboard it was not uncommon for
SeaFox sailors to "earn their dolphins" or become submerged while in
heavy sea states. This was not an uncommon occurrence for us at SBU-12 while transiting
to and from San Nicholas or San Clemente Islands. This was finally part of the
boats downfall, and was a contributing factor in the death of PO3 Richard
Christmen while on deployment in the Philippines in 1987. There were also
several other accident on the east coast.
Additionally, while deployed to the Persian Gulf in '87-'88, the SeaFox
spent most of its time in deployment cradles on the jacking barges we were
called home (The winbrown and Hercules). Because of the sea states we were not
able to safely put them in and out of the water and many of the crews were reassigned
to the 65' Sea Spectre class patrol boats instead. Due to the many faults, the
boat spent the last remaining part of its short career acting as a training
aid. We spent long hours in the open ocean and in the San Diego bay,
performing mock ship attacks to ready the rest of the Fleet for the threats
they would deal with in the Persian Gulf.
Though the SeaFox had a very short and lackluster career, it will always
hold a dear place in my heart.
John Gerving, (e-mail: email@example.com)
I found your website and wanted to add some information. I was assigned to
SBU-12 from 83-85.
The Seafox had a wide variety of electronics. It had an LN-66 navigational
radar, a HF/VHF (AN/???-23) radio, an avionic UHF radio, IFF and an
AN/APR-39 ECCM radar detector. It also had a gyroscope compass.
There were four weapons hardpoints, the aft corners of the front cabin for
M-60's and a couple of mounts for .50 cal's in the passenger compartment.
The 6V92 Detroit-Diesel Allisons had both twin turbochargers and a blower.
They were temperamental beasts requiring a lot of maintenance to keep running.
With the exhausts under the passenger compartments, you needed hearing
protection back there.
The boat was designed to be loaded onto a trailer and straight into a
C-130. The forward and passenger compartments collapsed flat and both masts
If you have any more questions, I'll do my best to try and answer them.
Mark G. Havener (firstname.lastname@example.org)
SBU-24 Little Creek, Virginia was one of the last in the U.S. Navy to utilize
the SEAFOX. In 1989 the electronics suit contained: ICOM bridge-to-bridge
radio, AN/URC-94 VHF/UHF 100W transceiver,
Harris RT-1230/URC-94 1.5 Mhz to 80 Mhz (HF /
VHF). 1.5 to 30 Mhz = 100W,
30 - 80 Mhz = 50W
AN/UPX-100 IFF transponder, FURUNO 802 radar,
FURUNO SATNAV, and AN/APR-39 Detector.
ETCS(SW) R.L. Shoecraft
My Platoon from UDT 22 took the first East Coast SEAFOX (which is currently at the SEAL Museum in Ft Pierce Florida) to the MED in 1981. We did extensive tow tests on this boat prior to deploying to ensure that it would tow a MK8 SDV in the sled. The coxswain was Hal Kuehne from what was then COSRIVRON if I remember right.
The boat was nearly destroyed while crane launching just days out of Morehead City enroute to Rota. The launch was set up to train the ships crew and although it was very calm at the time, it got away and began violently crashing into the side of the ship. I jumped overboard along with one other guy (retired Master Diver Chuck Leger) Hal and the engineer stayed with it until it was back on deck. The boat did touch the water for a few seconds and at one point the hook was inside the cabin wreaking havoc.
I read that someone thought the hulls were buried somewhere. I can't speak for the boats from the West coast but the East coast boats are all lined up neatly on a range at AP Hill where they are stopping bullets and collecting rain water. I'll try to get a picture next time I fly over.
Even with the wake the boat wasn't bad for water skiing and it was an awesome liberty launch. Even with its problems, compared to the current NSW RHIB which is an embarrassment obviously designed by someone who can't spell "operational support craft", the SEAFOX wasn't bad.