Senegal will in the coming weeks take delivery of a Shaldag Mk II patrol boat from Israel Shipyards after the vessel began sea trials.
The vessel was recently launched by Israel Shipyards, with delivery due in the third quarter of 2020 after sea trials are completed.
Senegal has ordered four Shaldag Mk II vessels from Israel, according to African Intelligence, and a single Shaldag Mk V. The first vessel, Anambe, was launched in February 2019 and the second, Soungrougrou, was launched in August 2019 and delivered to the port of Dakar later in the year.
The Shaldag design is in service with the Israeli Navy and other customers in Europe, Asia and Africa. It was developed and built by Israel Shipyards Ltd in the late 1980s but upgraded over the years based on combat experience. The type is powered by two diesel engines driving two water jets, which give an acceleration time to 40 knots of 40 seconds. The Shaldag Mk II has a length of 24.8 metres, a displacement of 58 tons and a range of 650 nautical miles.
Standard equipment on most Shaldag versions includes an X-band surveillance/navigation radar and electro-optical sensor system for day and night surveillance. A number of armament options are available, including fore and aft deck guns, and heavy machineguns on the fly bridge. The guns can be remotely controlled (such as the 23/25 mm Typhoon and 12.7/7.62 mm Mini-Typhoon) or manually operated weapons. In addition, a 20-23 mm naval gun can be mounted on the rear gun mount or four to eight short range missiles can be carried.
Senegal has been expanding its navy, especially as maritime insecurity persists in the Gulf of Guinea and the country plans to begin oil exploitation by 2022. In addition to the three Shaldag vessels, Senegal is also acquiring three OPV 58S offshore patrol vessels from France’s Piriou, with delivery from mid-2023. The OPV 58S vessels were ordered in November 2019 and will be used for surveillance, interception and security missions.
Senegal’s OPV 58S vessels will be 62 metres long, 9.5 metres wide and have a maximum draft of 2.9 metres. They will 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 will be 21 knots with a range of 4 500 miles at 12 knots, for a 25 day endurance.
The vessels will be armed with four 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).
Senegal has been expanding its navy recently, for example in 2018 signing a contract with France’s Raidco Marine for two more RPB 33 patrol boats, after the shipyard delivered a single RPB 33 in 2013. The new vessels are due to be delivered by June 2020 and will be operated on behalf of the High Authority for Maritime Security, Maritime Safety and Marine Environment (HASSMAR) by the Senegalese Navy.
Senegal’s navy received a boost in February 2018 when the United States handed over two donated 11.5 metre Defiant class patrol boats. The donation included boat repair and maintenance kits, and towing vehicles, and a two-week training session on the use and maintenance of the vessels.
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 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 is tasked with patrolling 700 kilometres of coastline and 159 000 square kilometres of exclusive economic zone (EEZ).