Cote d’Ivoire will be receiving a single P400 patrol vessel and two OPV-45 offshore patrol vessels as it overhauls and expands its navy.
This was revealed by Vice Admiral N’Guessan Kouamé Célestin, Chief of Staff of the Ivory Coast Navy, who also confirmed that the West African country had ordered two OPV-45 vessels from Israel and would also be taking delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles and other equipment.
He was speaking to naval personnel in Abidjan on 22 April, reports Fratmat.
The P400 is most likely an ex-French naval vessel – the P400 class has an endurance of 15 days at sea and is fitted with a 2.5 tonne crane that can lift boats out of the water. Armament includes a 40 mm Bofors gun, a 20 mm F2 cannon and two AA-52 machineguns. The class was acquired by France in the early 1980s and subsequently retired. P400s have been sold to Kenya and Gabon.
In December 2020, Israel Shipyards began construction of two OPV-45 offshore patrol vessels for Cote d’Ivoire. At the time, Israel Shipyards did not reveal who the customer was, only saying the vessels would be delivered in the next two years.
The OPV-45 was launched at the IMDEX show in May 2019 as a cost-effective solution mainly for the export market, especially in the Asia-Pacific, Africa and South America. The design is 45.7 metres long, has a beam of 8.6 metres and displacement of 300 tons. It can accommodate between 16 and 21 crew, and has additional berth for up to 24 personnel.
The vessel can carry a 7.2 metre rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) in an automated launch-and-recovery system on the aft deck, which can also take 20 foot containerised modules for different missions.
Weapons options include stabilised naval gun systems of up to 30 mm on the foredeck and 12.7 mm machineguns elsewhere on the vessel. Israel Shipyards said the African customer’s vessels will be equipped with day/night observation systems as well as stabilized weapon systems, both Israeli-made.
The ships will be able to reach a top speed of 24 knots and an endurance of 3 000 nautical miles at 12 knots.
Cote d’Ivoire will apparently also be receiving helicopters from Israel, and these will be delivered in the coming weeks. Earlier this month Jeune Afrique reported that ten helicopters were purchased in late 2021, including five MD500s and five Agustas supplied by Israeli company TAR Ideal Concepts. The company says it provides homeland security solutions.