USS Squall (PC-7) is the seventh of the fourteen active Cyclone-class coastal patrol boats of the United States Navy (USN). Sixteen of the group were originally planned. The first saw commissioning in 1993 and this small fleet is used beyond their general patrolling roles - also called on to support interdiction missions, amphibious operations and special forces missions (namely the Navy SEALs).
USS Squall was ordered on August 3rd, 1990 and saw her keel laid down on February 17th, 1993 by Bollinger Machine Shop & Shipyard at the Puget Sound NSY in Bremerton, Washington (as part of program PMS470). She was launched to sea on August 28th of that year and was delivered to the USN on May 9th, 1994 before being formally commissioned for service on July 4th of that year. She makes her homeport out of the Naval Support Activity Bahrain (Manama) USN base in the Kingdom of Bahrain as part of the United States Fifth Fleet (U.S. Atlantic Fleet).
The vessel displaces 330-335 tons and has a length of 174 feet with a beam measuring 25 feet and a draught down to 7.5 feet. The latter quality is what gives her the ability to operate close-to-shore and take part in littoral combat operations and exercises. Installed power is from 4 x Paxman diesel engines developing 3,350 horsepower to 4 x shafts under stern driving the vessel to speeds of 35 knots. Range is out to 2,500 nautical miles depending on load out. Aboard are four officer-level personnel and twenty-four enlisted.
Installed armament centers on 2 x 25mm Mk 38 automatic cannons, one fitted fore and the other aft. The warship also carries 2 x 40mm Mk 19 automatic grenade launchers as well as up to 4 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns. For short-ranged air defense, the crew has access to 6 x FIM-92 "Stinger" shoulder-fired missile launchers. The AGM-176 "Griffon" precision-guided, surface-to-surface munition is also a part of the Squall's armament suite.
All this promotes the Squall as a close-to-medium-range combatant. She can use her speed to intercept or run down offending vessels and her armament allows her to engage in both an offensive and defensive way.
The profile of USS Squall is typical of the series. The bridge sits over the central superstructure. One of the 25mm gun emplacements is fitted over the forecastle. The main mast sits atop and aft of the bridge deck. Various sensors and communications systems adorn the mast as well as the middle-aft superstructure area. The Squall is too compact to support an aviation section but can operate the smaller class of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) supported by the USN service. Her hull is constructed of steel with the superstructure built primarily from aluminum.
Recently, USS Squall has been actively operating in Persian Gulf waters and has clashed with elements of the Iranian Navy several times. Despite her age (over twenty-three years now), the vessel is, and should remain, in active USN service for the foreseeable future.