Israel Shipyards has sold three Shaldag fast patrol boats to an African country, which is believed to be Nigeria. The West African nation is in the midst of expanding its navy in order to combat maritime insecurity such as piracy and oil theft.
Israel Shipyards on July 17 said that it had agreed upon a deal for the sale of three Shaldag (Kingfisher) vessels for 80 million shekels (US$19 million). The Gold Bond Group, which owns 20% of the company, said it expected to make a profit of 16 million shekels (US$3.9 million) out of the deal.
It was reported that the fast patrol boats would be delivered to an African country, which has already paid a deposit for them. This country is almost certainly Nigeria – its 2012 Defence Budget Proposal makes provision for three Shaldag Mk III fast patrol craft, according to Budget Office documents.
The Shaldag design is in service with the Israeli Navy and other customers in Europe, Asia and Africa. It was developed and built by Israel Shipyards Ltd in the late 1980s but upgraded over the years based on combat experience. The type is powered by two diesel engines driving two water jets, which give an acceleration time to 40 knots of 40 seconds.
The Shaldag Mk III/IV has a length of 26.7 metres, a displacement of 64 tons and a maximum speed of more than 43 knots. It has a crew of 10-12 and a range of 700 nautical miles/four days. The Slightly larger Shaldag Mk V (with a length of 31.2 metres) has a displacement of 95 tons and a range of 1 000 nautical miles/six days. On the smaller end of the scale, the Shaldag Mk II has a length of 24.8 metres, a displacement of 58 tons and a range of 650 nautical miles.
Standard equipment on most Shaldag versions includes an X-band surveillance/navigation radar and electro-optical sensor system for day and night surveillance. A number of armament options are available, including fore and aft deck guns, and heavy machineguns on the fly bridge. The guns can be remotely controlled (such as the 23/25 mm Typhoon and 12.7/7.62 mm Mini-Typhoon) or manually operated weapons. In addition, a 20-23 mm naval gun can be mounted on the rear gun mount or four to eight short range missiles can be carried.
The Nigerian Navy already operates the Shaldag Mk II, which was delivered to in June 2009. At least two of the fast patrol boats were delivered, with training of crews taking place in Israel.
Nigeria’s 2012 Defence Budget Proposal makes provision for the three Shaldag Mk IIIs, as well as three 24-metre coastal patrol craft and six 17-metre Manta Mk II ASD littoral interceptors. The FY2011 defence budget approved the acquisition of two offshore patrol vessels, the refurbishment of six coastal patrol craft by TP Marine and the delivery of nine Manta Mk II ASD craft. The Suncraft Group is expected to construct the six Manta Mk II ASD vessels, bringing the total ordered over the last several years to 21. The Manta Mk II first entered service with the Nigerian Navy in 2008.
French shipbuilder OCEA is building the three 24 metre coastal patrol craft and commenced sea trials of the first vessel on March 13.
On June 27 the Nigerian government allocated more than 3.238 billion Naira (US$19.7 million) for the purchase of six security vessels, including three Manta ASD littoral interceptors. The origin of the other three boats was not specified.
Nigeria’s Navy is seeking government approval to acquire up to 49 ships and 42 helicopters over the next ten years to police the nation’s territorial waterways and Gulf of Guinea.
Some of these vessels will be built locally. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan on June 1 commissioned the NNS Andoni, Nigeria’s first locally built warship, and laid the keel for a second Seaward Defence Boat, which will be commissioned next year.
Jonathan recently approved the purchase of two new 1 800 t Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for the Nigerian Navy, which will use them mainly for maritime surveillance, patrol and response tasks. The contract for the two OPVs was signed on April 18 this year, with China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Limited, the trade arm of China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). They will be delivered in around three years time and will be partly built in Nigeria.
Elsewhere in Africa, Equatorial Guinea’s navy has also received Shaldag vessels, purchasing two Mk II models through Israel Military Industries (IMI) in 2004, according to Janes. They were built at Israel Shipyards and delivered in 2005 at a reported cost of US$10 million. Furthermore, Equatorial Guinea officially took delivery of two new 62 metre offshore patrol vessels from Israel Shipyards on February 22 last year. They sailed for Equatorial Guinea that same day after a ceremony in Israel.