Morocco plans to buy Avante class offshore patrol vessels

Morocco is currently negotiating with Spain’s Navantia for the acquisition of two Avante class offshore patrol vessels. The North African country is also set to take delivery of self-propelled artillery and surface-to-air missiles from France.

Morocco plans to buy Avante class offshore patrol vessels 925 001 The final GUAICAMACUTO-class coastal patrol vessel for the Venezuelan Navy is nearing completion in DIANCA’s Puerto Cabello shipyard (Picture source: DIANCA)

El Pais reported in December that the deal with Navantia was at the advanced stage and awaiting the approval of Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. The two vessels would cost around 260 million euros, including a maintenance agreement. It is believed that France’s Kership was offering Gowind offshore patrol vessels to Morocco. It is not clear how Morocco’s plans to expand its borders into Spanish territorial waters will affect the deal.

The ships are able to carry out a wide variety of missions such as coastal surveillance and protection, protection of maritime traffic, health assistance to other ships, external firefighting, the fight and control of marine pollution, transport of personnel and provisions, search and rescue operations, rapid intervention, frogmen support, surface defence and passive electronic warfare.

The Avante and systems are specially designed to operate in environmental conditions of high air and seawater temperatures and humidity nearing 100%, according to Navantia.

The Avante vessels for Morocco would be similar to those built for Venezuela, at around 80 metres in length with a displacement of 1 500 tons. They have a crew of around 35 and space for about 30 extra people plus a helicopter.

Morocco is also interested in a naval maintenance contract from France’s Naval Group that would see it maintaining its three Sigma corvettes and a multi-mission FREMM frigate.