DCNS and its local partner Boustead Naval Shipyard have won a US$2.8 billion contract to supply six Gowind patrol vessels to Malaysia, in the type’s first export order. The first corvette will be delivered in 2017, with others following at six-monthly intervals.
In October 2010 Boustead received a letter of intent from the Malaysian government that requested it to build six second-generation patrol vessels. Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS) was selected for the contract in early December last year,
However, the contract was put on hold for several days as BNS and DCNS wanted the vessel to carry the SETIS combat management system designed by DCNS, while the Royal Malaysian Navy wants the Tacticos systems, developed by Thales and integrated onto the navy’s KD Kasturi vessel.
DCNS competed with Dutch firm Damen and TKMS of Germany, which is one of the Malaysian navy’s traditional suppliers, having delivered six Meko corvettes between 2004 and 2010.
DCNS has already established a relationship with Boustead through a 2009 joint venture to maintain two diesel-propelled Scorpene submarines used by the Malaysian navy. DCNS previously sold six frigates to Malaysia’s neighbour Singapore, five of which were built in Singapore.
The Gowind vessels are 100 metres long and displace 2 400 tons. They can each carry one medium helicopter (Eurocopter EC 725 Cougar) and will be fitted with a 57 mm gun, surface-to-air missiles and torpedo launchers.
The Gowind class is built under a DCNS-funded programme. The first ship, L’Adroit, was made available to the French Navy on October 21 last year as part of DCNS’s ambition to win a larger share of the markets for small- and medium-displacement surface ships.
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.
In September last year 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.