Patrol ship

Article

July 5, 2022

A patrol ship (patrol boat, patrol boat, less often a border guard) is a military vessel, the primary purpose of which is to perform patrol or surveillance service in a designated area, securing the interests of the state in sea areas. In peacetime, patrol ships are usually used to protect sea borders and the economic zone of the state. Patrol tasks can be performed by ships of various classes, however, it is generally not economical - especially in peacetime, taking into account the costs of construction, armaments, equipment, and the number of the crew. Economic reasons resulted in the emergence of a class of patrol ships, which may be cheaper to build and operate, with less combat capabilities. Although these types of units are commonly referred to as ships, only some patrol ships are ships in the strict sense - units in the service of the navy, while they are also commonly used by state paramilitary formations, such as, depending on the country: border guards, coast guards, police , military police, customs or other. In peacetime, they are primarily used to protect the sea border against illegal crossing and smuggling, to protect compliance with the law in the economic zone of the state (especially to protect fisheries against illegal fishing), and to a limited extent to conduct rescue operations at sea. During the war, patrol ships are mainly used to detect the presence of enemy ships, to protect transport and convoys, mainly in the coastal zone, and some of them also to some extent also to fight submarines, less often to fight light ships and aviation. Sometimes they have a means of technical observation to detect submerged submarines. In this direction, a more specialized class of submarine chasers evolved from the patrol ships. Due to the different tasks they are faced with, patrol ships differ significantly in size, armament and equipment, and it is difficult to talk about typical parameters for this reason. First of all, they can be units of various sizes. Modern patrol ships have a displacement of several hundred to several thousand tons. Generally, however, they do not exceed 3,000 tons of displacement. Small vessels with a displacement of several dozen or several tons are usually referred to as patrol boats (in Polish terminology, below 500 tons). Patrol ships built as warships and as civilian units often differ in design, although, especially in recent years, there has been a tendency to offer the same units for civil services and military, with less combat capabilities, but more economical to build and operate. Earlier, however, as a rule, when constructing patrol ships, the emphasis was on the simplicity and cheapness of the structure, and not on the combat properties, which are of secondary importance in this class of ships. As a rule, patrol ships as warships are a small class of ships during peace, unless the navy performs border protection tasks (as in Poland before 1991), but their numbers increased significantly during the wars, due to emerging needs. In addition to specially built units, older ships of other classes (e.g. torpedo boats), and often civilian ships, especially tugs, trawlers and fishing boats, were converted into patrol ships, in the simplest variant by adding light armaments (they were also referred to as auxiliary patrol ships). Patrol ships usually do not have high speed for ships - from a dozen to less than 30 knots. The artillery systems are the basis of the armament of the patrolmen. The armament can be different - from only machine guns, through small-caliber cannons to single units