Second OPV 58S offshore patrol vessel for Senegal launched

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France’s Piriou has launched the second of three OPV 58S patrol vessels ordered by Senegal, five months after the first was floated out.

Piriou said the launch of the Niani took place in Concarneau, France, on 12 September, “marking a significant step in the progress of the programme for the supply of three offshore patrol vessels.” The first vessel, Walo, is being fitted out before sea trials start, and outfitting is also ongoing on the third vessel in preparation for launch.

The contract for the vessels was signed in November 2019 by Senegal’s Ministry of Armed Forces. The French shipyard said construction would take place over 44 months, and conclude in mid-2024, with first deliveries from 2023. Construction of the hulls is being divided between Concarneau and Lanester, near Lorient, where the Kership shipyard is located. Kership is a partnership between Piriou and Naval Group.

The contract also includes several years of support in Senegal, with the vessels to be supported in Senegal by Piriou subsidiary Pirou Ngom Senegal, created in October 2017 through a partnership with Ngom & Freres. This facility is dedicated to the maintenance of naval and commercial vessels as well as the construction of small fishing craft.

Vincent Faujour, Chairman of Piriou Group, said: “It is an important event for this boat but also more broadly for the OPV 58S programme. Thanks to the motivation of the Piriou and Kership personnel and the continuous working partnership with the representatives of the Senegalese Naval Staff, we are progressing according to schedule.”

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 ends 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).