French shipyard Piriou has delivered the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) Niani to Senegal’s military, the second of three for the West African nation.
The shipyard on 14 November said the second OPV 58S vessel was formally handed over in France to Oumar Youm, Minister of the Armed Forces of Senegal, the Ambassador of Senegal in France El Hadji i Magatte Seye, Admiral Oumar Wade, Private Chief of Staff of the President of the Republic of Senegal and Admiral Abdou Sene, Chief of Staff of the Senegalese Navy.
Piriou Group President Vincent Faujour thanked Youm for having done him the honour of choosing Concarneau for his first official visit to France. “You have played a major role in this partnership, which bears witness to the long-standing military cooperation between our two nations,” he said, pointing out that he and Wade had been involved in the project from the outset. “We are fully aware of the imperative need to guarantee the highest level of quality and availability of your ships. We are working on this, here in Concarneau, but also in Dakar,” he added.
“The acquisition of three offshore patrol vessels is an excellent demonstration of the significant investments made by the State of Senegal, at the initiative of His Excellency Mr Macky Sall, President of the Republic and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The Walo has made a definite added value in the field of maritime surveillance in depth and the acquisition of information of maritime interest. [It] has participated steadily in maritime border surveillance operations, the protection of offshore oil and gas installations, fisheries surveillance and, above all, the fight against illegal emigration,” Youm said, adding that “the entry into service of the Niani will undoubtedly help to strengthen the permanent security posture of the naval forces, of which the 58 S OPVs are the backbone.”
The contract with Senegal, signed in November 2019, covers the acquisition of three offshore patrol vessels. It is being fulfilled by Kership, the joint venture founded by Piriou and Naval Group in 2013. Construction of the hulls is being divided between Concarneau and Lanester, near Lorient, where the Kership shipyard is located.
The first vessel, the Walo, was delivered last June, while the third vessel, the Cayor, is being fitted out in Concarneau. Niani was launched in September 2022 while the Cayor was launched on 2 May – it will be delivered early next year.
The vessels have a length of 62.2 meters, displacement of 600 tonnes, a top speed of 21 knots and range of 4 500 nautical miles at 12 knots. Endurance is three weeks with a crew of 24, although another 24 personnel can be accommodated.
The OPV 58 S design is based on the ‘C-Sharp’ (Combined-Speeds Hull with All-Round Performances) hull developed by Piriou and Kership, which increases the ship’s endurance and seagoing capabilities. The hull is all-steel with an aluminium superstructure, featuring a 360° panoramic bridge and an aft ramp for the rapid launch and recovery of two rigid-hull inflatable boats. A large rear deck can accommodate two 20-foot containers, handled by a crane (7.5 t to 8 m).
The vessels are armed with four MBDA anti-ship missiles (Marte Mk 2Ns) and the MBDA SIMBAD-RC air defence system with two Mistral 3 surface-to-air missiles, along with a 76 mm gun. France’s Naval Group supplies the combat management system (POLARIS).