The Gowind offshore patrol vessel L’Adroit has left DCNS’s Lorient shipyard, where it was built, on a course for France’s Toulon naval base, its home port for the next three years as part of an operational loan to test the design.
Built under a DCNS-funded programme, L’Adroit was officially made available to the French Navy on October 21. A symbol of DCNS’s ambition to win a larger share of the markets for small- and medium-displacement surface ships, the Gowind offshore patrol vessel (OPV) L’Adroit put out from Lorient on Saturday 19 November on a course for Toulon.
“Its departure marks the end of the L’Adroit construction phase at Lorient,” said Marc Maynard, Gowind OPV L’Adroit programme manager. “In 18 months, the 100 people involved in the programme have successfully met the major industrial challenge of building this innovative vessel packed with state-of-the-art technologies. We are confident that the French Navy will demonstrate the vessel’s impressive capabilities, helping to promote Gowind in international markets as a needs-responsive range of naval vessels with real operational value.”
Over the next three years, the French Navy will thoroughly test the vessel, designed for current and emerging maritime safety & security missions, including fisheries surveillance, drug interdiction, environmental protection, humanitarian support and search and rescue at sea.
With two crews rotating every four months, L’Adroit will offer a high level of at-sea availability, spending 220 days a year on operational missions.
L’Adroit has a length of 87 metres, an at-sea endurance of more than 3 weeks and a range of 8 000 nautical miles. With a top speed of 21 knots, the vessel has a helicopter flight deck and can accommodate UAV operations. It is designed for reduced crewing, with a complement of 30 and space for 30 passengers.
Innovations and capabilities of special interest to ship-based naval, commando and coast guard forces include a panoramic bridge offering 360° visibility, a single enclosed mast offering 360° sensor visibility, covert deployment of fast commando boats in less than five minutes and full provision for unmanned aerial and surface vehicles (UAVs and USVs).
DCNS first announced the Gowind family of corvettes in 2006. Since then, DCNS has enlarged the family to include four corvettes with lengths from 85 to 105 metres and displacements from 1 000 to 2 500 tons.
A variety of weapons can be carried depending on the customer country’s mission requirements. The weapon systems include: water cannons, 12.7mm remotely controlled machine guns, a 20mm cannon, 76mm naval gun on the forward gun deck, anti-ship missiles, ship self-defence system and electronic warfare suite.
In September it was announced that DCNS and South African maritime organisation KND had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the promotion, construction and sale of Gowind offshore patrol vessels in South Africa.
The purpose of the agreement is to win new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) contracts, first in South Africa, and then in other sub-Saharan countries.
DCNS has long held an interested in South Africa – in September 2008 it launched the Gowind design in South Africa rather than wait for the Euronavale exhibition in Paris later in October.
Following visits by DCNS and KND to each other’s facilities, the two naval shipbuilders quickly recognised the major benefits of forming a partnership. DCNS is trying hard to get into the South African market by offering the Gowind for the SA Navy’s multipurpose offshore patrol vessel (MM OPV, Project Biro) and strategic support ship (SSS, Project Millennium) requirements.