- Fast Attack Craft
A Fast Attack Craft (FAC) ( _de. Schnellboot) is a small (100 to 400
tonnes), fast (up to ca. 40 knots) ship for offensive tasks, mainly equipped with surface-to-surface missiles and/or anti-ship torpedoes.
Because of their relatively small size, FACs are generally limited to coastal areas and relatively calm sea states. For example, navies operating in the
Mediterraneanand South East Asiause them, but in the North Seaand the oceans they are seen far less often.
With small gasoline motors coming up in late 19th century it was possible to build small, fast boats for warfare. Invention started in the beginning of the 20th century in Italy and Great Britain. The first such boats were armed with small guns, and were later made more effective with self-propelled
torpedoes. The first famous success of the Fast Attack Crafts was the sinking of the Austro-Hungarian battleship SMS Szent Istvánby the Italian MAS 15 in 1918.
World War II, the use of this kind of craft steadily declined in the USA and Britain, although the Soviet Unionstill had large numbers of Motor Gun Boats and Motor Torpedo Boats in service. With the rise in the use of surface-to-surface missiles in the 1960s, interest in the use of FACs was renewed - first in the Soviet Union then in the west, especially in Franceand Germany. France also built large numbers of this type of craft for export.
First Gulf Warin 1991 brought to light an important fault in the FAC design philosophy after a group of Iraqi FACs were destroyed by British Lynx helicopters armed with Sea Skuamissiles - FACs had almost no air defence systems and, even if they were equipped with an air defence radar, the small size of the ship meant that it could not be mounted high enough to be of much use. However, the German Gepard class fast attack craftare equipped with countermeasures, such as decoy and chaff launchers, and the RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missilesystem which gives them good air defence capability.
In recent years FACs have been increasingly equipped with
surface-to-air missiles and they have become bigger - up to ca. 800 tonnes. The biggest FACs are even capable of carrying a helicopter.
E-Boatallied Name for German Schnellboote
Motor Torpedo BoatBritish FAC
PT BoatUS-FAC of WW II
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