Written by Guy Martin |Defence Web
12/01/2021 – Israel Shipyards has launched construction of the first of two OPV-45 offshore patrol vessels destined for an undisclosed African country.
The company made the announcement in mid-December, saying the vessels will be delivered to an African Navy within the next two years.
In July 2020 Israel Shipyards said the vessels were designed for a wide range of missions including protection against the increasing threat of piracy in the region, indicating a sale in the Gulf of Guinea area. In September 2019, the shipyard said it had sold two OPV-45s but did not announce the customer.
The agreement includes ongoing support and training as well as the creation of a maintenance programme within the framework of the company’s Integration Logistic Support (ILS) services.
The OPV-45 was launched at the IMDEX show in May 2019 as a cost-effective solution mainly for the export market, especially in the Asia-Pacific, Africa and South America. The design is 45.7 metres long, has a beam of 8.6 metres and displacement of 300 tons. It can accommodate between 16 and 21 crew, and has additional berth for up to 24 personnel.
The vessel can carry a 7.2 metre rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) in an automated launch-and-recovery system on the aft deck, which can also take 20 foot containerised modules for different missions.
Weapons options include stabilised naval gun systems of up to 30 mm on the foredeck and 12.7 mm machineguns elsewhere on the vessel. Israel Shipyards said the African customer’s vessels will be equipped with day/night observation systems as well as stabilized weapon systems, both Israeli-made.
It has been reported that MAN will provide the engines for the vessels under a contract for two MAN 16V175D-MM engines rated at 2 960 kW, as well as ALPHA FPP propellers with struts and Alphatronic 3000 propulsion control systems. The ship will be able to reach a top speed of 24 knots and an endurance of 3 000 nautical miles at 12 knots.
The OPV-45 has been designed for a wide range of naval, para-military and homeland security missions, including open sea patrol and surveillance, the protection of facilities and exclusive economic zones, anti-terror/smuggling/illegal activity interdiction, intervention force boarding/landing, close-range naval combat operations, and enhanced search and rescue missions. The OPV 45 can also be equipped for minimizing illegal immigration transits, fishing protection and control, and anti-pollution activities.
Israel Shipyards also offers 58 and 62 metre long OPVs as well as Saar class missile corvettes (Saar 4, Saar 4.5 and Saar S-72), fast patrol craft (Shaldag MK II – MK V), commercial ships, tugboats, and multipurpose boats. It has supplied Shaldag vessels to Senegal and Nigeria, amongst others.