According to the Africa-based defence portal defenceWeb, an unidentified African country has ordered two OPV 45 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from Israel Shipyards.
The company announced the agreement on 9 July, saying the vessels were designed for a wide range of missions including protection against the increasing threat of piracy in the region but provided little other detail. In September 2019 it 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, Israel Shipyards said.
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. Maximum speed is about 24 knots and range more than 3 500 nautical miles at 12 knots. 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.
According to Eitan Zucker, CEO of Israel Shipyards, “Since the launch of the OPV 45 vessel at the IMDEX exhibition in Singapore last year, navies around the world have expressed great interest in this new vessel due to its cost-effectiveness and suitability for a wide range of missions. We believe that this vessel will make a significant contribution to maritime border protection in Africa.”
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.