Special Operations Craft – Riverine craft perform short-range insertion and extraction of special operations forces in river and near-shore environments.
The SOC-R is designed so that the boat including its tractor and trailer fits aboard C-130 or larger aircraft. Special Boat Teams (SBT) perform an insertion/extraction delivery system called MEATS. MEATS allows an Army MH-47 helicopter to carry a SOC-R rigged to the underbelly of the helicopter with slings. The Combatant-Craft Crewmen use a rope to get from the helicopter onto the craft for insertions, and a ladder dropped down from the helicopter to get off the SOC-R craft when extracted. It replaced the Patrol Boat, River, and the mini armoured troop carrier.
Each craft is manned by a crew of four Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and can carry eight personnel. Members of Special Boat Team 22 (SBT-22), based in Stennis, MS, who make up a tiny fraction of the total SWCCs, are the only ones who operate the SOC-R. These river crews conduct mainly clandestine combat missions, often operating at night with little or no air support.
The SOC-R speed and tight turn radius are facilitated by the hull design. The slope of the SOC-R's V-shape belly essentially allows the boat to skate along the surface, with relatively little drag on the hull. There is no hanging rudder or propeller blades to snag on submerged roots and rocks.
The SOC-R's five weapon mounts provide a 360-degree field of fire. The aft-mounted .50 cal covers the boat crew as they leave the shore after an extraction.