Naval Group will design the future ocean patrol vessels for French Navy

According to a press release published by Naval Group on October 14, 2021, the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) awarded Naval Group the contract for the preliminary and detailed design of the Ocean Patrol Vessel program.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of future Ocean Patrol Vessels (Picture source: French Ministry of Armed Forces)

This award follows on from the signature of the framework agreement carried by the French Defence Procurement Agency on 23 October 2020 for the study, development, production, and initial operational maintenance of ten ocean patrol vessels for the French Navy.

A first contract had been awarded to Naval Group for the design and value analysis and was approved by the French Defence Procurement Agency on 23 June 2021. The company has now been awarded a second contract for the preliminary and detailed design of the Ocean Patrol Vessels. Another contract will then be awarded to Naval Group for a ship construction monitoring service.

The Ocean Patrol Vessels program aims at the renewal of the patrol vessels stationed in mainland France, namely the high seas patrol vessels (ex-avisos A69) based in Brest and Toulon, and the public service patrol vessels based in Cherbourg. The mission of these ocean patrol vessels will include support to deterrence, autonomous situation assessment in areas of sovereignty or interest, escort, evacuation of nationals, sovereignty and protection of national interests in the maritime approaches.

This program is part of an innovative industrial scheme involving collaboration between civil and military entities. Naval Group, as overall project architect, is in charge of the design of these ships. The French Defence Procurement Agency will then entrust the construction to all or part of the production shipyards that were awarded the framework agreement for deliveries between 2025 and 2029.

The future Ocean Patrol Vessels will be armed with the RapidFire 40mm naval gun system.

The RapidFire 40mm naval gun system consists of an over-deck self-contained gyro-stabilized gun mounting armed with the CTA 40, Case Telescoped Armament System (CTAS) cannon, designed to fire 40mm telescoped ammunition.

The 40 RapiFire naval gun has a firing rate of up to 200 rounds by minute using airburst ammunition. The concept of air burst ammunition came up in order to increase the efficiency of the gun systems against air-to-surface missiles, UAV’s, etc. The idea is basically to create a cloud of particles that have high kinetic energy and penetration capability on the path of the threat and be able to hit targets that are very difficult to hit with the classical ammunitions.

The 40mm RapidFire has an effective firing range of 4,000 meters against air targets and up to 2,500 meters against surface threats. It can fire in a fully autonomous mode and is equipped with infrared and daylight TV channels as well as a laser range finder.