NWI - Naval Warfare

Patrol vessel bound for French Guiana

9th June 2017 - 12:48 GMT | by Erwan de Cherisey in Paris

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The French Navy has taken command of its second and final Guyanese Light Patrol Vessel (PLG), P734 La Résolue, which was officially handed over by its manufacturer, Socarenam shipyard, on May 30, at Boulogne-sur-mer.

The new vessel departed for Brest on 8 June, where its crew will complete its training ahead of the ship’s departure for its base port of Dégrad-des-Cannes in French Guiana later in the summer. 

La Résolue is the second of two PLGs ordered by the French Navy in 2015 to replace its two P400 patrol vessels based in French Guiana: the P687 La Capricieuse and the P684 La Gracieuse. 

In November 2016, the first of the two PLGs, P733 La Confiance, departed for Guiana, having been delivered to the French Navy on October 25, 2016.

The ship was officially commissioned into service on 27 April 2017, taking over the duties previously performed by La Capricieuse, which, after 30 years of continuous operations, departed Guiana for France on 4 May. 

La Gracieuse will follow the same route as La Capricieuse once La Résolue is fully operational and commissioned into service as well. 

The PLG are to perform patrolling duties in the waters of French Guiana, in order to deter illegal fishing, smuggling and illicit trafficking, fight pollution and provide a SAR capability at sea. 

They are also to be a part of the security network protecting the Guiana Space Centre, from which the Ariane family of space rockets is launched.

Both PLGs have a length of 60.8m, a beam of 9.55m, a draught of 3.20m (specifically thought for the shallow waters of Guyana), and a displacement of 750 tonnes. They each have a crew of 24 and can accommodate up to 38 people onboard. 

Each ship is armed with a Nexter NARWHAL remotely operated weapon system fitted with a 20mm canon, a pair of 12.7mm heavy machine guns and a water cannon. 

The PLG have a maximum speed of 21 knots and an endurance of 14 days. They are powered by two ABC 12 DZC diesels as their main engines, each delivering 2900 kW, and three Scania electrical engines with a unitary power of 340 kW which are designed to be used as the ships’ main propulsion when they are sailing at speeds of 7.5 knots or less, allowing to save on fuel consumption. 

Each ship also carries a pair of Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB) for interception and boarding duties. Both craft are 7.6m long Zodiac Milpro ZH 749s capable of reaching a maximum speed of 35 knots. 

The PLG were designed by Bureau Mauric, a naval architecture designing company, which used the experience it has gained on the development of previous patrol vessels such as the Castor and Pollux 

which were designed for the Belgian Navy and also built by Socarenam.  

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