Dearsan Shipyard has launched the first of two 76-metre-long offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for the Nigerian Navy during a ceremony in Turkey.
The launching ceremony, held on 26 October at the Dearsan Shipyard in Tuzla, was attended by Nigeria’s Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, Dearsan CEO Murat Gordi, Vice President of the Turkish Defence Industry Agency, Gokhan Ucar, and Istanbul Shipyard Commander Rear Admiral Recep Erdinc Yetkin, amongst others.
The first patrol vessel (P203) had its keel laid on 16 September 2022 after the contract for the two vessels was announced in November 2021. At the time, the Nigerian Navy said Dearsan was selected based on its track record and cost-effective pricing and the acquisition is part of the Nigerian Navy’s fleet renewal effort in line with its 2021-2030 Strategic Plan.
The new vessels will be used for maritime interdiction operations, surveillance and special forces operations as well as providing naval fire support to land forces. The OPVs will also be capable of conducting search and rescue operations, anti-piracy, anti-smuggling and anti-drug trafficking operations and disaster relief operations among others.
Each vessel is 76.90 metres long with a beam of 11.90 metres and a displacement of 1 100 tons. They will each be armed with a single 40 mm Leonardo Oto Marlin gun, a single 30 mm Aselsan Muhafiz remotely operated weapons system (ROWS), two 12.7 mm Aselsan Stamp ROWSs, and two manually controlled 12.7 mm machine guns.
Combat equipment will include an Aselsan MAR-D naval search radar and Aselsan DenizGozu-AHTAPOT (Sea Eye-Octopus) electro-optical/infrared system. Havelsan will supply its Advent combat management system and its GVDS ship data distribution system while Yaltes will supply operator consoles.
Four MAN 18VP185 diesel engines in a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) configuration will give a maximum speed of 28 knots and a range of 2 500 nautical miles/16 days. Crew complement is 47. A flight deck can accommodate a helicopter, but there is no hangar. Two RHIBS will be carried for interdiction and other tasks.
After securing the offshore patrol vessel contract, Dearsan Shipyard in June this year signed an agreement with the Nigerian Navy for the mid-life upgrade of its flagship, the NNS Aradu, and the supply of a 57 metre long Tuzla-class patrol vessel.
The refurbishment and project for the NNS Aradu, originally built by German shipyard Blohm & Voss in 1982 and commissioned in 1985, will be conducted at Dearsan Shipyard’s facility in Tuzla. The NNS Aradu is a Meko 360 class vessel with a length of 125 metres and displacement of 3 500 tons.
Sources indicate that the Tuzla class vessel was initially intended for Libya; however, due to unforeseen complications, the delivery could not be completed. Once the delivery is completed, the Nigerian Navy will become the fourth to operate Tuzla-class vessels, following the Turkish Naval Forces, Turkmenistan Navy, and Turkmenistan Coast Guard Command.