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Angolan Navy acquiring seven patrol vessels from Brazil

A Brazilian Macae classe vessel. The Angolan Navy will receive seven Macae-class patrol boats from Brazil, with four to be built in Brazil and three in Angola.

The Brazilian and Angolan defence ministers, Celso Amorim and João Manuel Lourenço, on September 5 signed a Technical Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) covering the production of the vessels as part of Angola’s Naval Power Development Programme (Pronaval).

The Brazilian Navy’s Empresa Gerencial de Projetos Navais (Emgepron) will produce four of the vessels in Rio de Janeiro while the other three will be manufactured in a new Angolan shipyard to be built 200 km south of the Angolan capital Luanda, with technical advice, materials and equipment supplied by Brazil. The Brazilian Navy will provide education and training of Angolan personnel both to build and to operate the vessels that will be built in the new shipyard, the Brazilian Ministry of Defence said.

The Macae class is based on the French CMN Vigilante 400 CL54 and has a displacement of around 500 tons, length of 54.2 metres, beam of 8 metres, an endurance of ten days and a complement of 35.

The vessels are powered by two MTU Friedrichshafen 16V 4000 M90 diesel engines coupled to controllable pitch propellers, giving a top speed of 21 knots and a range of 2 500 nautical miles at a cruising speed of 15 knots.

Brazilian vessels can carry rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) at the stern and and are armed with an Allied Ordnance of Singapore L70 NADM 40 mm gun and two 20 mm Oerlikon GAM-B01 cannons. Equipment includes Ares Aerospacial e Defesa electro-optical sensors; IPqM TTI 2900 tactical control system; and Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine VisionMaster FT 250 integrated bridge system, which includes X-band and Y-band navigation radars, according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly. However, the technical configuration of the Angolan vessels is still being finalised.

Lourenço said that increasing the strength of Angola’s Navy will allow the country to fight threats such as maritime piracy and terrorism. "We will do everything so that implementation of this cooperation will not take long," he said.

Amorim during the MoU ceremony on Friday said that Brazil and Angola enjoy a strategic relationship as they both need to monitor the South Atlantic Ocean. The two countries, along with 23 other African and South American nations, are signatories of the Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic (ZPCSA), a multilateral organization created by the United Nations (UN) in 1986, and which aims to prevent the introduction of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction in the region.

"Angola is a thriving nation and increasingly active in Africa. We have friendship and great mutual respect. Brazil doesn’t want a paternalistic attitude towards Angola, because Angolans rightly would not accept it," said Amorim.

Apart from the purchase of seven patrol vessels and advising on the construction of the shipyard, the MoU provides for cooperation in the academic field and the training of personnel to build and operate vessels, as well as to qualify sailors of the merchant marine.

The Angolan delegation attended the third IDB Brazil Show, organized by the Brazilian Agency for the Promotion of Exports and Investments (Apex-Brazil) and the Brazilian Association of Defence and Security Equipment, supported by the Ministry of Defence, and which brought together nearly 100 industry peers in Ulysses Guimarães Convention Centre in Brasilia.

At the moment Angola’s Navy is relatively small, with around a thousand personnel, and its vessels includes four Mandume class fast attack craft, five ARESA PVC-170 and three Patrulheiro patrol boats. In order to protect Angola’s 1 600 km long coastline, the Angolan Navy is undergoing modernisation but is still lacking in many ways.
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