The Gowind class offshore patrol vessel L’Adroit has returned to her homeport of Toulon after a two-month mission in the Mediterranean. Its builder DCNS has made the ship available to the French Navy for three years so the vessel can be tested and demonstrated at sea.
DCNS said the ship returned to port on June 29 after her fisheries protection and maritime safety and security mission, including operation Thon Rouge to police bluefin tuna fisheries.
“In the course of our mission, the crew inspected no fewer than 22 fishing vessels and reported five violations of international regulations. Working closely with other fisheries protection forces, our ship contributed to ensuring compliance with the authorised fishing quotas for 2012 and recently reinforced regulations,” said Commander Sacha Bailly.
L’Adroit will remain at Toulon naval base while DCNS teams and crew members carry out routine inspections and maintenance. In September, she will set off on an extended mission that will take in South Africa. Under Project Biro, the South African Navy is seeking offshore patrol vessels to replace some of its older fleet.
With two crews working four-month rotations, L’Adroit is expected to ensure an at-sea availability of 220 days per year.
“We are pleased with the feedback we’ve received from the crew following OPV L’Adroit’s different operational missions to date. Our design appears well-suited to the emerging needs of client navies. Indeed, several have expressed interest and entered into discussions with DCNS,” says Gowind programme manager Marc Maynard.
By demonstrating L’Adroit’s qualities, DCNS said the Navy would help it win the coveted ‘sea proven’ seal of approval that international customers seek when reviewing a new design’s innovations and efficiency.
With a length overall of 87 metres, L’Adroit offers three weeks’ blue-water endurance, a range of 8 000 nautical miles and a top speed of 21 knots. The design includes full provision for an organic helicopter and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), crewing by a complement of 30 and accommodation for 30 passengers.
DCNS said innovations and capabilities of special interest to navies, coast guards and commando forces include a panoramic bridge offering 360° visibility, a single enclosed mast offering 360° sensor visibility, covert RIB deployment in less than 2 minutes and full provision for UAVs and USVs (unmanned surface vehicles).
The Gowind family also benefits from DCNS’s extensive experience in 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.