Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, Valeriy Chaly, and a group of other Ukrainian diplomats, took part in the ceremony marking the completion by Ukrainian Navy sailors of a training program set up by the the U.S. Coast Guard to help them learn to operate Island-class boats Sloviansk and Starobelsk.
The ceremony was held at the Baltimore Coast Guard base, the Ukrainian Embassy in the U.S. wrote on Facebook.
Ambassador Chaly, along with Ukraine Navy Commander Ihor Voronchenko, thanked the U.S. Coast Guard leadership and everyone who participated in the training project for the valuable experience they had shared with Ukrainian sailors – all to improve naval capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
On the American side, Rear Admiral Joseph Vojvodich congratulated the graduates.
As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukraine planned to replenish its Navy fleet with four U.S.-made Island-class boats.
The vessels will be based in Odesa, which is now home to the country's main naval base.
Island-type boats have a full displacement of 165 tonnes and are able to reach speeds of up to 30 knots, with a cruising range exceeding 5,300 km. They are able to operate autonomously for up to five days. Read also U.S. intel officials, satellite imagery detail Russian military buildup on Crimea – Defense One As part of the U.S. Coast Guard, the boats were equipped with a 25-mm machine gun system Mk 38 Bushmaster and two 12.7 mm M2HB machine guns. When entering into service with the Naval Forces of Ukraine, weapons installed can be significantly diversified, taking into account the challenges Ukraine is facing in the Black Sea. In particular, it's about a Katran-M turret (BM-5M01), similar to the one installed on small artillery boats Gyurza-M. It is also possible to install Neptun anti-ship missile launchers, which will then have the Island-type boats reclassified to become small missile boats and allow creating a full-fledged strike division on their base, capable of engaging any surface vessel in the Black Sea.