VT's OPV For Trinidad And Tobago
UK based VT Shipbuilding holds a strong position as a leading supplier of offshore patrol vessel with a family of OPV in service or in build that extend from basic patrol vessels to highly sophisticated designs. Beginning with Royal Navy River class fishery protection vessels as a basic design, the Batch 2 Falkland Islands patrol vessel improved on the earlier design with additional helicopter capability although only armed with a 30mm gun. Meanwhile their design for Trinidad and Tobago is a new design closely based on their existing portfolio model that has a speed of 25 knots and overall length of 90.5 metres. Long range maritime patrol is enabled by 35 days endurance and a range of 5000 miles at 12 knots. This allows the ships to poise at sea and when appropriate, close an area of interest to project force, including by helicopter. At the higher end of the VT series is the stealthy Ocean Patrol Vessels for the Royal Navy of Oman, 99 metres long and fitted with a comprehensive combat system beyond the normal expected levels expected in an OPV including medium calibre guns, SSM and Shorads supported by a comprehensive weapons management system, organic helicopter capability in a hangar propelled at a speed of more than 25 knots by two diesel engines.
VT's Khareef Class OPV For Oman
Fr. Fassmer GmbH meanwhile has found success in South America with two Fassmer OPV 80 design built for the Chilean Navy while Argentina plans to build five and the Colombian Navy one. With a length of 80 metres and speed of 21 knots, the vessel has a range of 12,000 nautical miles at a speed of 12 knots. Armed with a 40/70mm gun, the deck layout incorporates a helicopter launch platform, crane, two RHIBs, container storage and rescue zone. More recently, Fassmer has also introduced a larger OPV design, the Fassmer OPV 90, which at 92 metres is offered at a higher maximum speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles at a higher cruising speed of 14 knots and suitable for the integration of a variety of military payloads and enhanced helicopter capabilities.
Chile's OPV Piloto Pardo From Fassmer
Although not mentioned when their specifications were discussed above, these patrol vessels all share the fact that they were conceived as flexible, long endurance vessels equipped to perform a wide range of constabulary tasks with a primary focus on presence missions and maritime security tasks in the territorial waters and exclusive economic zones of each navy’s nation. Thus armaments can be limited to medium and small calibre guns to fulfil self defence and constabulary requirements. By putting endurance and sea keeping ahead of speed, the patrol vessels will instead use their helicopters and embarked RHIBs to intercept and prosecute targets at range. The helicopter will be able to identify and track targets significantly beyond the ship borne sensor horizon, while the high speed RHIB can be used for boarding operations. Thus even though these ships may by design look like under-armed corvettes, their specifications actually meet their mission design requirements.
And specifically for our Kedah class patrol vessels and the future improved Batch 2, the FFNW concept actually allows them to be upgraded to actual corvette capabilities when the need actually arises, and the modular concept will allow sufficient time for the additional combat systems to be installed when the war clouds are gathering. So remember that even though the Kedah class may look like corvettes and you may wish that they are armed like corvettes or even light frigates, the fact remains that they are sufficiently equipped to carry out their primary role as patrol vessels, with the bonus that ultimately they can be the corvettes that you are dreaming of.