At a time when international terrorism is becoming a real and ever-impending threat, the United States needs a pit bull at the helm. Unfortunately, we have a pink poodle and a Congress full of lap dogs. When Semali pirates captured an American cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden a few months back and then took the captain hostage, President Barack Obama declared it an “annoying distraction” Capt. Phillips, the skipper of the vessel, may have thought otherwise, suspecting the President being cognitively challenged. Many US citizens monitoring the situation certainly did. Instead of immediately taking action to destroy the seafaring terrorists, the current administration waited just too long, and in lieu of firepower, we were stuck with FBI hostage negotiators. During the crisis, the President was himself afloat in a sea of oblivion. As Phillips was being held at gunpoint, President Obama was hosting a meeting with homeowners at the White House. When asked by reporters about the first act of piracy against a US vessel in nearly 200 years, his inane response was “Guys, were talking about housing right now.” This scenario begs for a Ronald Reagan and a couple of armed fighter jets. But since that’s no longer possible, one might take a look at a solution lurking on the horizon. Most people have heard the old sea chantey, “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.” Maritime Defense Systems International LLC (MDSI) (online: MCDI-Intl.com) is making it possible to end piracy on American ships and add sea terrorists to the dead man’s chest. MSDI is a privately held Florida corporation that will install a scaled down version of its Automated Counter-Piracy System on the GB-12 patrol boat produced by partner Radix Marine Inc. (2804 West Washington Ave., Yakima, WA 98903, online: Radix-Marine.com). This 12 meter craft is capable of functioning manned or unmanned and hopefully, not just the US will take advantage of it. The combination of the GB-12 and a mounted weapon system make it the ideal force multiplier for friendly nations worldwide. Essentially, what you have on the system is a South Korean Daewoo K3 machinegun along with long range detection, range finding and automated weapons control, with features such as a Sathink for real time video transmission. This system allows a controller to maneuver and fire from a control point that is a distance away from the pirates or terrorists. This allows the main vessel to remain at a safe distance miles away from the action. The 13-pound Daewoo K3 chambered for 5.66 mm is a gas-operated, air-cooled automatic light machinegun that can fire from a belt (700 rpm) or box magazine (1,000 rpm). It has an overall length of 40.5 inches with a barrel length of 21 inches. The gas system uses a piston, a bolt carrier and a rotating five-lug bolt, together with a three-position adjustable gas regulator. Basically, it’s a new and improved version of the FN Minimi (M249 SAW). MDSI officer Tim Sheridan said they chose the Challenger GB-12 vessel for its reputation as a durable, high performance, highly maneuverable craft. The boat is constructed of aluminum and not composite, so that if repairs are needed, the job can be handled just about anywhere in the world. There’s no need for complicated and complex compounds for fix-its. He claims, “The Challenger’s advanced hull design and turbo-charged engines coupled to powerful water-jet pumps give it unparalleled speed and maneuverability.” This little sea wolf accelerates from 0 to 40 knots in 10 seconds; at 40 plus knots, it is capable of turning 180 degrees in 1.5 boat lengths. The craft’s shallow 1-meter draft makes it ideal for river and coastal patrol missions. Another advantage of the GB-12 is that it can be reconfigured so that various mounts or modules can be emplaced on the front deck, depending on the mission. In other words, the GB-12 can be readily adapted to counter-piracy, counter-drug, bostage rescue and dozens of other operations. The Challenger’s drop-in modules can be installed in minutes with a simple dock-side lift that accommodates several modules. What makes the Challenger so swift and powerful are its two 660 HP model 3196 DITA Caterpillar engines. Other features include twin 20-inch North American Marine Jet water propulsion units, direct drive; instantaneous electronic over-speed control, and SAFETM solid-cell foam sponsons impervious to punctures or abrasion. With two main and two reserve fuel tanks, it can cover some serious distance. All it takes is two guys and 30 minutes to prepare the craft for transport, whether by ground, sea or air. The Challenger GB-12 is not an untried or untested platform. The US Navy and other interested contractors have been putting the craft through its paces with exceptional results. The only objection that some might have to using MDSI’s weapon system and GB-12 is that traditionally cargo ships and cruise ships are not armed. Company official Tim Sheridan offers the perfect solution, “It would make sense to have a US Reserve Marine or Navy officer on board to launch the craft and control the weapon system. This would relieve the civilian sea merchants from having to handle any weapons or from breaking any maritime laws. Given the choice of 10 FBI hostage negotiators or one Automated Counter-Piracy System, I’ll take the system hands down.