France’s CMN launches first tank landing craft for Angola

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French shipyard CMN (Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie) has launched the first of two tank landing craft (LCTs) for the Angolan Navy.

The first vessel (ND15) was launched at the end of February, Mer et Marine reported, and will be delivered around May. Construction of the second vessel has already commenced, and will be delivered in 2024.

Construction of the first vessel had begun in January 2022, at which time the customer was not disclosed, with CMN saying the vessels were being built on behalf of Privinvest under a follow-on to a 2016 contract by Privinvest for around 20 vessels destined for ‘an African country’.

The 70 metre long vessels will be able to carry 200 tons of payload, including 260 soldiers in addition to the crew of 18. Watertight bulkheads ensure survivability in the event of damage. A 5.25 metre boat can be launched by a crane.

Each LCT will be powered by two diesel engines driving two fixed-pitch propellers and giving a speed of 16 knots.

The LCTs are the largest vessels to be built by CMN since the corvette Baynunah (71 metres long), delivered to the United Arab Emirates in 2011.

In 2016, Privinvest announced it would establish a shipyard in Angola and supply several naval vessels under a 495 million euro deal. Privinvest has facilities and shipyards in a number of countries including France (CMN), Germany (German Naval Yards Kiel) and the Middle East.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the 2016 Angolan deal included three CMN HSI 32 patrol craft, which were delivered in 2019, and a long range offshore patrol vessel and a short range patrol vessel from France. Photos recently emerged confirming the HSI 32s in Angolan service, while in November 2022 CMN revealed it had delivered an Ocean Eagle 43 trimaran patrol boat to the Angolan Navy. The vessel is the first of three Ocean Eagles ordered by Angola, Mer et Marine reports.

Angola has turned to United Arab Emirates (UAE) shipyards for further expansion, in February revealing a billion euro contract with Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) for a fleet of 71 metre BR71 Mk II corvettes. The Combattante BR71 Mk II an advanced variant of the Baynunah class (BR 71 design) corvette developed by CMN, a part of Privinvest Shipbuilding Group. The vessel is designed for littoral warfare defence operations against air and surface threats, patrolling tasks, law enforcement and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.