A Wonder Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV)
French shipyard Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) launched the first of the three Ocean Eagle 43s in January this year and conducted sea trials in February. CMN will now deliver the vessels to Mozambique. H2X Shipyard at LA Ciotat, France built the hull.
In a €200million, September 2013 deal, the Mozambican government ordered three Ocean Eagle 43s, 24 fishing vessels, and three HSI 32 Interceptors from CMN to guard the facilities around its recent offshore gas and oil discoveries.
Satellite Map of East Africa (Source: Furgo NPA) (Retrieved From: http://www.geoexpro.com/articles/2014/06/east-africa-rays-of-a-new-dawn)
These days, navies have to undertake diverse missions including low intensity ones. Combining aerial surveillance with follow-up surface action is important to protect against a range of threats. And, navies have to do so within tight budgetary constraints.
Currently, the Mozambique navy is powered only by a couple of Namacurra Class Harbor Patrol Boats donated by South Africa, one Conejera Class Patrol Craft (Pebane) donated by Spain, and about ten small patrol crafts including Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boats (RHIBs).
Mozambique & East Africa: Sitting Atop Resource Gold
A former Portuguese colony, Mozambique gained independence in 1975. The joy was short lived for a civil war erupted in 1977 and lasted till 1992. The country held its first multiparty elections in 1994 and has been stable since. The government then embarked on reform programs but the country remains poor and underdeveloped.
With offshore oil and gas discoveries, things are looking bright for Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. In 2012, operators in Mozambique hit 100Tcf of natural gas. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates Mozambique and Tanzania’s reserves at 250Tcf gas and 14.5billion barrels of oil.
Although politically stable, East Africa is plagued with deficits in infrastructure, regulatory framework, and skills. The political leadership has its task cut out to address these if it has to retain foreign investors, exploit resources, and use the proceeds for development.
Ocean Eagle 43 Trimaran OPV: Technical & Other Details
Back in 2012, specialist designer-operator of sea based projects ProLarge and air-marine service company Sea Team Aviation joined forces with CMN to create a light, fast, and yet reliable patrol trimaran employing innovations in ocean racing crafts. Soon, Nigel Irens, the designer of multi hulls such as Brigitte Bardot and Ilan Voyager, joined them.
Ocean Eagle 43 Trimaran Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) (Source: http://cmn-group.com/products-and-services/military-vessels/tsm/ocean-eagle-43/)
Ocean Eagle 43 OPV comes with a creative trimaran design specifically built for patrolling shallow waters. It coasts along at 15 knots for 238 nautical miles while using up a meager 1 ton fuel.
Combining a very slender hull with two floats lends the craft exceptional stability, fantastic fuel economy, incredible speed, and autonomy with reasonable comfort levels in moderate to rough seas.
- Fantastic Fuel Economy: the craft can cover 238 nautical miles at 15knots consuming only 1 ton of fuel. At the same speed and using the same amount of fuel, a mono-hull OPV will cover only 50 nautical miles
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle: substantially raises the line and range of sight
- High Modularity Levels: make the vessel compatible with diverse maritime surveillance missions
- Exceptional Operational Viability
- Simple Maintenance and Top Reliability: you can change the main propulsion engine within 24 hours
Ocean Eagle 43 Trimaran OPV Data Sheet
Adaptable for special operations support, side scan sonar operations, coastal oceanography, and surveying, the Ocean Eagle 43 can undertake:
- state action at sea
- sea policing
- safety at sea
- combating smuggling, piracy, illegal immigration, and trafficking
- search and rescue (S&R)
- convoy escort
- defense of offshore installations and vulnerable vessels
- safeguard against asymmetric threats, boarding of terrorists, and speedboats
- overseeing marine environment
- inspection of fishing zone and exclusive economic zone
Asymmetric Threat is an unfair threat. It comes from weaker forces that do not try and match the size of its larger adversary but exploit its adversary’s weaknesses. These asymmetrical forces are small, mobile, efficient, elusive, high tech, and inventive. Guerilla warfare for example is asymmetrical warfare.
For conducting missions, the craft is loaded with:
- 1 x electro-optical observation system
- 1 x 20mm remote-controlled gun turret
- 1 x radio direction finder
- 2 x 12.7mm side gun
- 1 x rotary UAV
- 1 x C2 system
Main equipment and auxiliaries:
- RHIB: stern ramp-mounted, 7m outboard RHIB for transshipments, policing intervention, or naval special operations
- 4 x diesel engines
- 2 x main generators
- 2 x CPP
Through a ‘what’s needed when its needed’, the Ocean Eagle 43 undertakes a whole range of missions. Just what the Mozambique navy ordered.
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