By Luca Peruzzi
On 17 November in Dakar the Ministry of the Armed Forces of Senegal and the Piriou Group representatives signed a contract for the procurement of three oceanic patrol vessels to enter in service with the Marine Nationale Sénégalaise. The signature was celebrated in Dakar at the presence of the President of the Republic of Senegal, Macky Sall, and the head of the French Ministerial Delegation, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
According to the press statement released by the French group, once the contract will come into force as planned in early 2020, the Piriou Group will start the shipbuilding construction programme for the three OPVs, which will last 44 months, to be followed by a period of support in Senegal. No contract value has been released, but the French group president Pascal Piriou indicated it in “several hundred million euros”.
The press statement doesn’t provide further details on the shipbuilding programme, except it refers to three 62.2 meters long OPV 58S model vessels. Elaborating on the support to be provided after delivery, the same statement refers to the Piriou Ngom Senegal, a joint-venture established in October 2017 with the local Ngom & Frères company. Having started operating in 2018, this company is devoted to shipping maintenance and overhaul in the area. These activities will see a further development with the delivery of the new OPVs as their in-service support and maintenance will be provided by the company.
With a length and beam of respectively 62.2 and 9.50 meters, the OPV 58S has a steel hull and aluminum superstructures and can reach a maximum speed of 21 knots with a range of 4,500 nautical miles at 12 knots and an operational endurance of 25 days. The OPV 58S is a versatile platform capable to accomplish a wide range of missions, characterized by a 360° large panoramic bridge and a C-Sharp hull design providing optimized range and seakeeping. With accommodations for 48 persons including 24 crew members, the OPV 58S model is equipped with a side-by-side stern-launch and recovery station for a total of two RHIBs and a forward multi-mission deck area capable to host up to two standard 20’ containers. The combat system is expected to be based on the Naval Group POLARIS command management system with an armament package which, according to the renderings, includes a Leonardo 76/62 mm Super Rapido main gun, two Nexter Narwhal 20 mm remotely controlled guns for asymmetric threats defence and an MBDA Simbad RC dual Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile launcher for short-range air and surface defence in addition to two double launchers for MBDA Marte Mk2/N surface-to-surface missiles.
The OPV 58S class of vessels will be the largest to enter into service with the Senegalese Navy, today equipped with the Ocea-provided 58 meters Fouladou OPV 190 MkII OPV, the Raidco Marine Kedougou 45 meters and the Ferlo RPB 33 meters Ufast de Quimper patrol boats, entered into service respectively in 2016, 2015 and 2013, as well as three older patrol vessels and three coastal patrol vessels.
Photos courtesy Piriou Group