A 'Dark' Class Fast Patrol Boat -
illustration from the Eagle (26th July 1958)

The Dark class, most numerous of the Royal Navy's several types of F.P.B., will soon be joined by H.M.S. Dark Scout, which is notable in having an all-welded aluminium hull. This contrasts with earlier units, most of which have aluminium framing and decks, but wooden hull skins of double-diagonal planking.

These vessels - some 20 strong - are capable of over 45 knots and are powered by two lightweight 18 cylinder Napier-Deltic engines, which are placedaft of the vee-gearing. Together these develop a maximum of 5,000 s.h.p. at 2,000 r.p.m. The Darks have a crew of 12 officers and men; they have a 19 ft. beam and an overall length of 71 ft., and are designed to carry alternative forms of armament. The main picture shows one as a gunboat, but they can also serve as torpedo boats, minelayers or in a dual role. The Dark Scout, launched at Beaumaris, is the 14th of this type to have been built by Saunders-Roe (Anglesey) Ltd., who are the parent firm for these vessels.

Insets on left: (A) As Motor Torpedo Boat. Four 21 in. torpedo tubes; Oerlikon forward; two rocket projectors; two depth charges. (B) Two torpedo tubes. 4.5 in. gun or Bofors or Oerlikon forward; two rocket projectors; two depth charges. (C) Designed as a Minelayer. Bofors or Oerlikon forward; six mines; two rocket projectors.

Key to numbered parts: (1) Carley floats; Danforth anchor on left. (2) Forward hatch and 'ready use' ammunition locker. (3) 4.5 in. gun. (4) Hatch to magazine. (5) Navigating bridge with whip aerial each side. (6) Radar scanner. (7) Rocket flare projector. (8) Master compass. (9) Hatch to main engine room. (10) Emergency steering position. (11) 40 mm. Bofors gun. (12) Engine room hatch (removable). (13) Depth charge. (14) Hydraulically-operated trimming flap. (15) Port side Napier-Deltic engine.
(16) Exhaust. (17) Engine control from acoustic booth. (18) Auxiliary machinery compartment: pump (port), 25 kw. generator (starboard). (19) Forward main fuel tanks of the three. (20) Radio room, with wardroom beyond. (21) Officers' washplace; crew's on left. (22) Magazine. (23) Galley (aft of Petty Officers' mess). (24) Crew space, with settee berths.

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