France orders seven offshore patrol vessels
The French Navy will receive seven OPVs under a €900 million (US$981 million) with government procurement agency Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) acting as prime contractor, Naval Group providing project management assistance and Thales providing hull sonar and other systems.
A production contract was also notified to the temporary consortium of companies consisting of CMN, Piriou and Socarenam.
Thales was awarded a contract to equip the first seven OPVs with maritime surveillance equipment, specifically Bluewatcher hull sonars, N550 compact multi-mission surveillance radars and TSA 3522 Identification Friend or Foe systems, and will also carry out systems integration.
DGA said in a statement: ‘The first stage of the offshore patrol vessel programme, based on the acquisition of seven vessels, will fill a gap in the second-tier vessel segment taking into account the decommissioning of offshore patrol vessels that have already taken place.’
The new OPVs will replace the Estienne d’Orves class of type A69 Avisos and OPV54-class patrol boats. They will operate in French littoral waters, primarily across the continental shelf to depths of 200m and continental slope and rise to depths of 1,000m. Designed for long endurance, the new multi-role OPVs will perform escort roles for front-line warships.
Shephard Defence Insight noted that the procurement was previously known as BATSIMAR (Bâtiment de surveillance et d'intervention maritime), then PHM-NG, but has now been labelled "Future Ocean Patrol" under the Patrouilleurs Océanique programme.
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