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KND progressing with 19-vessel order for Namibian Navy

altCape Town-based company KND Naval Design is preparing to deliver 17 new vessels to the Namibian Navy next month, ranging from harbour patrol boats to fast interceptors. A landing craft is currently undergoing sea trials off Cape Town prior to delivery and two swamp boats will be delivered in the coming months.

Namibia ordered 19 small vessels for its Navy, nine of which are being built by another Cape Town-based company, Veecraft Marine. The order involves five four metre long fibreglass row boats (built by a deaf school KND has partnered with); five six metre long combat inflatable boats; two six metre long aluminium harbour patrol boats; two eight metre long boarding boats; one 11 metre long landing craft, two 14 metre long fast interceptors and two eight metre long swamp boats.

Kobus Potgieter, CEO of KND Naval Design, said that the 14 metre high-speed interceptors have three powerful Mercury engines giving a top speed of 60 knots. Powerful engines also give the eight metre boarding boats a top speed of 50 knots. The 8, 11 and 14 metre vessels have provision for weapons, such as machineguns, but it is up to the Namibia Defence Force to equip them.

Potgieter told defenceWeb that the swamp boats will be used in flooded areas and will be ready for delivery in a couple of months’ time. KND Naval Design is manufacturing the platforms and importing the engines from the United States. The landing craft will also be used for flood relief operations, especially in the Caprivi area of northern Namibia.

The company said the landing craft is designed for river or coastal waterway patrol, rescue duties and delivery of cargo including vehicles and troops. KND envisions Namibia using the landing craft during the rainy season, especially during flooding in the Caprivi area. “The KND 11 metre LC will be the main vessel supplying and servicing these very important operations,” the company said.

It added that the aluminium vessel was developed specifically for Namibia and features a flat bow monohull platform allowing good on-beach stability and minimum speed loss in rougher seas.

The landing craft has a maximum load capacity of nine tons. It can reach a speed of up to 25 knots fully fuelled and carrying an all-terrain vehicle (with two 115 hp engines), or up to 27 knots fully fuelled and carrying cargo or people. Depending on the engines fitted, maximum speed can reach up to 40 knots (with two 250 hp engines).

"Sized to be easily transportable and efficient thus capable of operating with Namibia forces, our innovative design meets the demanding Namibian Ministry of Defence (MOD) requirement for an LC with average transit speed and high payload capacity whilst demonstrating excellent on-beach stability," said Potgieter.

He told defenceWeb that the landing craft is ideal for African conditions and that there is a big market for the vessel since it can perform many different roles. Once in service with the Namibian Navy, Potgieter is confident of further sales.

Potgieter told defenceWeb that the Namibian Navy has a new thinking cap on and that it is rather spending money on lots of smaller boats for wider coverage than buying one or two larger offshore patrol vessels. This approach means less maintenance and a greater area covered by the Navy.

The Namibian Navy has in the last several years made great strides to become a stronger and more effective force, with the main aim of gaining the ability to monitor and control its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as the country derives significant revenue from its fishing industry.

To this end the Navy has received a variety of vessels including two Namacurra class harbour patrol craft from South Africa in 2002, a Brazilian corvette in 2004, a Brazilian patrol craft in 2009 and an offshore patrol vessel from China (NS Elephant) in 2012. The Namibian navy operates from the country's only naval installation, the PN Sacharia Naval Base in Walvis Bay. Duties include fisheries patrol, search and rescue and offshore asset protection.

The navy employs a highly trained force of 500 sailors, most of who were trained in South Africa and Brazil. Its firepower is supplemented by a marine corps unit which employs at least 200 marines who are also trained extensively in naval warfare by Brazilian tutors.

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