Irish OPV build makes progress
Babcock (Stand S2-350) will next month float up LÉ Samuel Beckett, the first of two new 90m offshore patrol vessels (OPV) on order for the Irish Naval Service. The company will also lay the keel for the second vessel during October.
Babcock was awarded the contract to build the two OPVs by Ireland’s Department of Defence in 2010. The new vessels are being built at Babcock’s Appledore shipyard in North Devon, where Ireland’s current OPVs LÉ Roisin and LÉ Niamh were also built.
Built to STX Marine’s PV 90 design, the new OPVs are 1,933-tonne displacement ships capable of a maximum speed of 23kts, and a range of 6,000 nautical miles at their cruise speed of 15kts on a single engine. The propulsion system utilises an electric drive system, which provides a loiter function of up to 6kts.
The vessels have a comprehensive command, control and communications package coupled to the main weapon, an OTO Melara 76/62 gun, as well as two 20mm cannons and four general-purpose machine guns.
The two vessels will also be equipped with configurable, serviced mission modules, with deck space to operate mission-specific equipment, and to act as a mother ship for two fast pursuit rigid hulled inflatable boats. The OPVs are required to undertake a range of duties including fishery protection, search and rescue, maritime protection, drug interdiction, anti-pollution and maritime security duties, including vessel boardings.
The vessels are designed to provide an operational capability for up to 30 years of service in the Atlantic region.
A keel-laying ceremony for Samuel Beckett, the lead vessel, took place at Appledore in May 2012. Following float up, the vessel will be berthed alongside for final outfit, test and commissioning prior to delivery to the Irish Naval Service in early 2014.
The second OPV is due for delivery in 2015.