Paramount Naval Systems (previously Nautic Africa) has announced the development of a new 42 metre aluminium trimaran patrol vessel.
The announcement was made at the Thursday ceremony in Cape Town where Paramount Group, Africa’s largest privately owned defence and aerospace company, formally publicised their acquisition of a majority stake in Cape Town-based ship building company Nautic Africa. The military business side of Nautic Africa has been rebranded as Paramount Naval Systems.
Speaking at the ceremony, CEO James Fisher noted that the new 42 m trimaran patrol vessel is the “first fruit of the association” between Paramount Group and Nautic Africa. It will also be the first time that a vessel of this nature is being designed and built in South Africa.
To be known as the Frontier Patrol Vessel, Fisher said that the trimaran is being developed in direct response to an obvious need in the market for a highly efficient, sea-kindly, multi-role platform.
Supporting the initiative, Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, said: “We are committed to the development of the South African shipbuilding industry and putting Africans at the heart of it.”
Nautic Africa has a legacy of only using locally designed vessels to keep the intellectual capital in South Africa.
Emphasising the importance of the project, Ichikowitz said that the project would be internally funded. “We consider (the new design) to be very strategic,” he said, “Not only to be proof of concept, but also to do effective trials.”
Michael Bakker, naval architect and head of product development, explained that the trimaran offers improved propulsive efficiency and better economy over a wider speed range when compared to the equivalent monohull.
“At the same time,” Bakker continued, “it will provide a more stable work platform as it has superb stability with respect to seakeeping.”
Building of what Fisher describes as “a cutting edge design” will commence in 2014.
Able to sustain itself for long durations at sea, the design features a helideck, space for two interceptor boats and a crew of 30. The top speed of 29 knots is capable of being increased to 40 knots when larger engines, of which there are two, are specified.
Both Ichikowitz and Fisher stressed that the new design is a way for smaller defence forces to have a patrol capability at a cheaper cost. With an increasing threat facing Africa from the sea in the form of piracy, theft of marine resources and drug trafficking, Fisher noted that “there has never been a greater need for naval security in the waters around Africa.”
As a result, there is a demand to have more vessels on the water. A capable vessel with a low purchase and support cost, Fisher said, can result in more vessels for a smaller budget.