Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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Nigerian Navy wants 49 ships, 42 helicopters in next decade

The Nigerian Navy is seeking government approval there to acquire up to 49 ships and 42 helicopters over the next ten years.


The This Day newspaper reported last week that the Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ishaya Ibrahim stated that the Nigerian sea service needed the vessels and aircraft to police the nation`s territorial waterways and Gulf of Guinea.


The French ADIT research agency says in its weekly newsletter that Nigeria is home to Africa`s largest oil reserve, most of it located offshore.


"The country is also confronted to serious piracy and insurgency problems. Last year according to one estimate, more than 37 billion naira in revenue was lost due to incidents and attacks: N19 billion for the repair of oil facilities destroyed by rebels, and N18 billion of oil stolen by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).


ADIT says the 10 year plan would unfold in three phases.


In the first, scheduled to last two years, Abuja will procure two light frigates and two 85-metre offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).


The second phase will span between two and five years, during which 10 OPVs, 20 helicopters, 1 hydrographic ship and two mine-countermeasure vessels (MVMVs) would be purchased.


The last phase would see Nigeria acquire three conventional submarines, two corvettes, two landing platforms dock (LPDs) and 20 long-range maritime patrol helicopters.


"In the future, Nigeria wants to secure the Gulf of Guinea with its Navy in order to facilitate oil trade," adds the ADIT.


"But the country will face two challenges.


"The first one is the procurement of the equipment itself which will be easy to solve. The second one will be much trickier: Human resources. Acquiring 49 warships in 10 years means that Nigeria will put into service an average of five ships a year.


"It will therefore have to recruit and train a very significant number of sailors and officers every year.


"Indeed, Nigeria may count on both the financial support of main oil majors and the assistance from bordering countries. But human investment will be huge and meeting such goals may prove difficult."


Pic: A model of a Navantia OPV on show in Cape Town last year. The South African Navy is seeking three large SA-built OPV as part of its Project Biro and is keen that other African  states adopt a like design, perhaps also built in SA to promote commonality and cut costs.