The first DCNS Gowind-type offshore patrol vessel has been launched one year after construction work began. The building and outfitting of the L’Adroit in record time – less than 20 months – has been made possible by new, improved design and production methods, the shipyard says in a statement.
From “first cut” on May 7 last year to float-out last week Wednesday, took just 12 months, DCNS added. “The floating of Gowind-type OPV L’Adroit demonstrates DCNS’s ability to design and build a highly innovative ship on time – in this case less than 20 months – and on budget,” says Marc Maynard, the Group’s Gowind OPV programme manager.
“This highly symbolic event gives the management team an opportunity to thank everyone working on the programme and to say how happy it is with the contributions of all the DCNS teams involved as well as all investors, partners and co-contractors, along with the French Navy which is supporting both the programme and the planned export drive. All have contributed directly to the success achieved to date. The Gowind family of OPV/corvettes is a key element of the Group’s strategic growth plan.”
L’Adroit is being built under a DCNS-funded programme. On completion, the ship will be made available to the French Navy. A three-year operational loan will enable the French Navy to grant the lad-of-class design the “sea proven” and “operations qualified” seals of approval, thereby giving DCNS two key arguments when promoting the Gowind family on the international market.
This loan introduces an innovative form of cooperation between the French government and a private company, DCNS added. “The Navy will demonstrate the Gowind’s relevance and operational worth for current and emerging missions on the high seas from area surveillance to anti-piracy, counter-terrorism, fisheries policing, drug interdiction, environmental protection, humanitarian aid, search & rescue and maritime safety & security.” For that reason 11 companies are supplying systems and equipment for the L’Adroit free of charge. In all, over 50 co-contractors are contributing to this showcase programme and will contribute further to the drive to promote the Gowind family and its systems and equipment.
The float-out or launch – always a major milestone – involved considerable preparation. The weekend before, special-purpose crawlers moved the ship from its assembly hall to a nearby wharf, then to a barge on the Scorff estuary. From there, L’Adroit was taken to a drydock to be floated out.
Gowind-type OPV L’Adroit is now moored at a DCNS outfitting wharf for work on the upper deck equipment compartments and the installation of the single enclosed mast. Major tasks scheduled for next month include the installation of the main radome and electronic systems. When quayside testing of the electronic systems and equipment has been completed, advanced-technology OPV L’Adroit will begin sea trials scheduled for the coming summer.
The Gowind offer three weeks’ blue-water endurance, a range of 8000 nautical miles and a top speed of 21 knots. L’Adroit has a length overall of 87 metres. The design also includes full provision for reduced crewing to a complement of 30 with space for 30 passengers. Innovations include a panoramic bridge offering 360 degree visibility, a single enclosed mast offering all-round sensor visibility, the ability to covertly deploy fast commando boats via a covered stern ramp in less than five minutes and full provision for unmanned aerial and surface vehicles (UAVs and USVs).
The Gowind family also benefits from DCNS’s experience in IT and command information systems. These vessels can be readily tailored for extended area surveillance and, when working in conjunction with shore-based control centres and other networked ships, for the automatic detection of suspicious behaviour by ships and other craft, DCNS says. The company has mooted the design for the South African Navy’s Project Biro OPV programme.