Turkey’s Dearsan lays keel of first Nigerian OPV

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Turkey’s Dearsan Shipyard has laid the first keel of the two new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) it will deliver to the Nigerian Navy.

The keel laying ceremony at Dearsan’s shipyard in Tuzla, Turkey, on 16 September was attended by Nigeria’s defence minister Bashir Magashi, Dearsan Chairman Aziz Yildirim, Nigerian Navy chief Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, and other dignitaries.

The guests inspected the first blocks of the 76 metre long patrol vessels, Dearsan said, whilst revealing further information on the technical specifications of the two OPV-76 vessels. They are 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 Smash 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 a Gem Elettronica Sair-2D X-band radar for surface and air search and tracking, and a Gem Elettronica Electro-Optical Fire Control System (EOFCS) which includes day and infrared cameras, as well as a laser rangefinder. 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.

The contract for the two vessels was announced in November 2021. At the time, Gambo said Dearsan was selected based on its track record and cost-effective pricing. He added that 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,” Gambo said.