Metal Shark has delivered an 85'x19.5' welded aluminum near coastal patrol vessel (NCPV) to the Dominican Republic’s navy.

Christened the Betelgeuse in keeping with the Dominican tradition of naming military vessels after constellations, the new patrol craft was built at Metal Shark’s Franklin, La., shipyard and officially commissioned into the Dominican navy during a ceremony at the Las Calderas Navy Base on Aug. 6.

The vessel has been delivered to the Dominican Republic under a $54 million U.S. Navy contract awarded to Metal Shark to produce up to 13 85' Defiant-class patrol craft for U.S. partner nations.

The NCPV is a monohull vessel utilizing the parent-craft hull form of Damen Shipyards’ 2606 standardized patrol vessel, which has been optimized by Metal Shark to suit the requirements of the NCPV mission. The versatile patrol vessel is designed to support a wide range of missions including search and rescue, border patrol, police and customs duties, counter-narcotics operations, and securing waters of economic importance.

Powered by twin 1,600-hp Caterpillar C-32 marine diesel engines turning fixed-pitch Michigan Wheel propellers through Twin Disc MGX-6599 transmissions, the NCPV has been designed for missions of up to six days at sea in nearshore ocean conditions, supporting an operating crew of 10.

To maximize versatility, the NCPV carries a 5.6-meter Metal Shark-built aluminum RIB, powered by twin Mercury 50-hp four-stroke outboards, that can quickly be launched and retrieved via an integrated stern slipway in support of missions.

“Metal Shark has worked extensively with the U.S. Navy to design and build this highly capable platform which will bolster the effectiveness of maritime security and counter-drug missions across Latin American and the Caribbean,” Henry Irizarry, Metal Shark’s vice president of international business development, said in a statement announcing the delivery. “As we continue to deliver these vessels and expand the NCPV fleet, we will enhance regional cooperation and a see an elevated military presence that will ultimately help to protect regional interests as well as those in the United States.”

“The NCPV program is a direct result of the increased demand among Metal Shark’s military operators worldwide for larger and more capable patrol vessels,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “In terms of size, speed, endurance, and capability, we are working to meet those challenges head-on. We’re proud to deliver this vessel to the Dominican Republic and are looking forward to delivering multiple additional NCPVs across the Caribbean and Latin America in the months ahead.”