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France acquires seven new Offshore Patrol Vessels

By Defence Industry Europe

On November 17, the French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) announced a significant order for seven offshore patrol vessels for the French Navy, totaling an investment of EUR 900 million. This major step is part of the 2024-2030 military development programme, which aims to have ten offshore patrol vessels in service by 2035, with the first delivery expected in 2026.

 

The contracts for this ambitious project have been distributed among several key players in the defense industry:

  • The production contract has been awarded to a consortium of CMN, Piriou, and Socarenam.
  • Naval Group received the contract for project management assistance and construction of the combat management system.
  • Thales is set to equip the vessels with cutting-edge maritime surveillance equipment, including the Bluewatcher hull sonar, a compact multi-mission surveillance radar, and an IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system.

 

 

These new vessels are slated to replace the existing offshore patrol vessels (PHM) based in Brest and Toulon, and the Cherbourg public service patrollers. The DGA, acting as the overall project manager, has adopted an innovative acquisition strategy to leverage national expertise in naval equipment and system development, construction, and supply.

The procurement of these patrol vessels is a response to the increasing maritime traffic and escalating threats at sea. These boats will serve a wide range of missions, including deterrence support, presence in sovereignty and interest areas, evacuation, protection, escort, and intervention in state maritime actions.

 

 

The first phase of the offshore patrol program, focused on acquiring seven vessels, addresses the shortfall in the second-rate vessel segment. This move will initiate the enhancement of naval capabilities across the three metropolitan facades: Brest, Toulon, and Cherbourg.

Designed for semi-permissive environments, the offshore patrol vessels will feature robust information processing capabilities and efficient seakeeping. They will also have the capacity for long-term deployment of helicopters or drones suited for aeromaritime missions, marking a significant upgrade in the French Navy’s patrol capabilities.

 

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