L’Adroit arriving in South Africa next month


DCNS will bring its Gowind class offshore patrol vessel L’Adroit to Cape Town early next month in order to showcase the vessel to the South African Navy, which is seeking new offshore patrol vessels under Project Biro.

L’Adroit will be in Cape Town from September 5 to 9 before docking at Simons Town from September 9 to 11. The vessel’s arrival will take just before the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition at Waterkloof Air Force Base outside Pretoria between September 19 and 23.

After a short stopover in Dakar, Senegal, from August 13 to 16, L’Adroit set course for South Africa. Currently off West Africa, the vessel is patrolling under the orders of CECLANT, the French Navy’s operational authority for the Atlantic.
“We are currently in transit from Dakar to the Cape. This patrol will last a total of 19 days and will cover some 4 500 nautical miles. This is a considerable distance, which we can cover without replenishment thanks to the long endurance of the L’Adroit”, said executive officer Luc Regnier.

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.

The vessel’s builder DCNS made the ship available to the French Navy on October 21, 2011 so it could evaluate the ship and its systems on operational missions. During the next three years, two French Navy crews will be rotating every four months to operate approximately 220 days a year at sea.

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.
“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,” said Gowind programme manager Marc Maynard last month following a two-month mission in the Mediterranean.

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 OPV is designed to possibly receive any range of guns up to the remote controlled 76 mm. According to the nature of the ship’s missions, navies are free to decide which kind of weapons would best fit.

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.