Offshore patrol vessel P71 of the Maltian Army launched at Italian shipyard Vittoria

According to a information published by Times of Malta, the Vittoria shipyard in Italy has launched what will be Malta's biggest ever offshore patrol vessel (OFV). The launch ceremony was held in the presence of AFM Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of Offshore patrol vessel P71  (Picture source: Twitter)

The vessel will have a full-load displacement of 1,800 metric tons, a beam of 13 meters, and a draft of 3.8 meters. It will have a crew of 50 and space for an additional 20 personnel.

The vessel has launch and recovery control stations in the stern and one of its sides for 9.1-meter RHIBs with additional space for supplies and personnel. Both RHIBs are capable of a maximum speed of more than 40 knots. There are doors on the overhead flight deck for the loading/unloading of supplies.

P71 will be powered by a hybrid system consisting of two 5,440 kW diesel engines that integrate with electric motors driving two variable-pitch propellers for up to 23 knots. There are bow and stern thrusters as well as active-fin stabilizers for improved stability.

Vittoria said the P71 will be armed with a remote-controlled 25 mm gun mount and various calibre light machine guns, while the integrated command, control, and navigation system includes a 2D surveillance radar and satellite communications.

This new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) is expected to complement the P61 (Diciotti-class patrol vessel) and a former Irish Navy OPV. Its construction started in 2019.

This new OPV has to be more endurant, to have a better sea keeping and to be able to provide better living conditions to its crew. And all of that, at lower maintenance costs than the previous OPVs Malta has acquired.

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