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France orders seven new offshore Patrol vehicles

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France’s defense procurement agency (DGA) has announced the order of seven new offshore patrol vehicles (OPV) for the French Navy.

The production contract was awarded to CMN, Piriou, and Socarenam as part of the country’s Patrouilleurs Hauturiers program.

Naval Group and Thales will also manage some of the vessels’ future assets, including combat systems and maritime surveillance equipment consisting of sonars and radars.

The DGA said the ships will replace the navy’s high-sea patrol vessels based in Brest and Toulon, as well as the Flamant-class craft based in Cherbourg.

The project will reportedly cost 90- million euros ($983 million), with the first OPV scheduled to be delivered in 2026.

Adapting to Maritime Needs

The DGA described the OPVs as adaptable craft for semi-permissive environments, perfect for efficient seakeeping and solid information processing.

They will also be able to accommodate helicopters or drones in their combat and surveillance arsenal, utilizing their relatively small size for aero-sea missions.

“In a context of increasing maritime traffic and tightening threats at sea, patrol boats are filling a very wide range of missions: support for deterrence, presence in areas of sovereignty and interest, evacuation, protection, escort and intervention in the context of the action of the State at sea,” the DGA’s official statement read.

The directorate adds that a total of ten new OPVs are expected to be in service by 2035.

Focusing on Growth

France has enhanced its maritime capabilities through newly-implemented programs and drills.

The French Navy recently launched carrier warships to patrol the Gulf of Guinea to combat piracy and drug trafficking in the region.

In July, the force conducted its first-ever anti-drone sea exercise off the coast of Brest aboard a FREMM-class frigate. OPV. Drone capabilities were also acquired and tested by the navy.

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