Britain's SBS commandos are being given a fleet of new superboats that can evade radar.
The stealth interceptors, which cost £3million each, can carry 21 frogmen and three crew 500 miles and hit 52 knots – almost 60mph.
Painted in a digital camouflage the supercraft have machine guns mounted front and back.
They also have pods for missile launchers and can deploy midget submarines from their sloping decks. The hi-tech craft, called Vigor, will lead Britain’s seaborne military capability into a new age.
A senior source said: “The expectation is that future conflicts may well be around the maritime domain and we need to be ahead of the game. The new boats are fast, highly capable and very difficult for an enemy to see on radar. They will deliver a new edge to our operations.”
The 60ft-long boats – which are already in service with US Navy Seals – have a double hull and a low-profile deckhouse.
They can be transported in a C17 transport aircraft or launched from a Royal Navy warship.
Six boats are being delivered to the Special Boat Service.
They will join an elite maritime operations squadron with duties in the UK and in support of wider special forces tasks in the Middle East. They are due to take part in war games off Oman later this year and in the waters off Norway in early 2021.
Their purchase sends a clear message that Britain’s special forces will not be hit by the pending defence spending review.
For the past three years the SBS, whose motto is “By Strength And Guile”, has suffered manning issues. But sources say it has now been given funding to expand.
The SBS currently has four squadrons and in the past two years has been at the forefront of the UK’s domestic counter-terrorist operations.