France’s UFAST launches Senegalese patrol boat


France’s UFAST shipyard has launched a 33 metre patrol boat for Senegal, with delivery scheduled for the end of March.

The vessel, named Taouay, was launched in Quimper on 12 February, reports Mer et Marine. It is undergoing sea trials and UFAST is providing training for the crew.

Once in Senegal it will be operated on behalf of the High Authority for Maritime Security, Maritime Safety and Marine Environment (HASSMAR) by the Senegalese Navy.

In 2018 France’s Raidco Marine received an order from Senegal for the delivery of two more RPB 33 patrol boats, after the shipyard delivered a single RPB 33 in 2013. Both new vessels are being built at Raidco’s UFAST Shipyard.

The 33.73 metre long, 6.5 metre wide vessels are powered by two 1 100 hp MAN engines, giving a top speed of 22 knots and a range of 1 500 miles at 15 knots for an endurance of one week at sea. A rear ramp is able to launch a 6.2 metre long aluminium-hulled boat, also manufactured by UFAST. Built out of an aluminium superstructure and glass fibre reinforced composites, the RPB 33 features a bridge design which allows for 360 degree surveillance. Armament on the Senegalese vessels will most likely comprise a 20 mm cannon and 12.7 mm machineguns.

Senegal’s first RPB 33, Ferlo, was delivered in the third quarter of 2013 and was involved in Operation Restore Democracy in the Gambia in 2017.

In 2015 Senegal received the 45.8 metre long offshore patrol vessel Kedougou from STX France. This was ordered from Raidco Marine, which subcontracted construction to the STX Lorient shipyard. This was followed a year later by the 58 metre long OPV-190 Fouladou offshore patrol vessel, built by France’s Ocea.

The new vessels are part of Senegal’s plan to renew its naval fleet and allow the maritime arm of service to carry out missions such as fisheries inspection, fighting drug trafficking and piracy. Senegal’s navy has around 900 sailors and thirty vessels that patrol 700 kilometres of coastline and 159 000 square kilometres of exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Senegal is also due to receive three Piriou OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels for the Navy, with steel cut for the first vessel in October 2020. Piriou said construction would take place over 44 months, and conclude in mid-2024, with first deliveries from 2023. Construction of the hulls will be divided between Concarneau and Lanester, near Lorient, where the Kership shipyard – a partnership between Piriou (55%) and Naval Group (45%) – is located.

The OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels for Senegal are 62 metres long, 9.5 metres wide and have a maximum draft of 2.9 metres. They have steel hulls and aluminium superstructures with a 360 degree panoramic bridge, a rapid deployment/recovery system for two boats and be each able to accommodate up to 48 people, including 24 crew members. Top speed is 21 knots with a range of 4 500 miles at 12 knots, for a 25 day endurance.

A large rear deck can accommodate two 20-foot containers, handled by a crane (7.5 t to 8 m). This aft deck will end at the stern with a double ramp for two 7-meter RHIBs.

The vessels will be armed with four MBDA anti-ship missiles (Marte Mk 2Ns) and the MBDA SIMBAD-RC air defence system with two Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles, along with a 76 mm gun and possibly two 20 mm Narwhal cannons, although this is not confirmed. France’s Naval Group will supply the combat management system (POLARIS).

The new vessels will be the most capable in Senegal’s Navy, which has been expanding over the last several years. Another recent acquisition is four Shaldag Mk II patrol boats and a single Shaldag Mk V from Israel Shipyards. The first vessel, Anambe, was launched in February 2019 and the second, Soungrougrou, was launched in August 2019. The final two vessels (a Shaldag Mk II and a Mk V – Cachouane and Lac Retba respectively) were delivered in November 2020.