The launch ceremony took place in presence of the Chief of Staff of the Navy of Senegal, Admiral Oumar Wade. The shipyard announced that the second ship is currently in outfitting stage while the third one is nearly assembled.
For the record, the contract for the procurement of three OPV 58 S for the Navy of Senegal was signed in November 2019. The steel cutting for Walo took place in October 2020. The program is carried out with the support and expertise of its subsidiary KERSHIP (the joint company between PIRIOU and Naval Group). The construction for these three OPVs will be spread over a period of 44 months, until the summer of 2024. It includes a support period of several years in Senegal.
According to PIRIOU, the “OPV 58 S” is a robust and versatile 62 meters patrol vessel dedicated to surveillance, identification and intervention missions. In addition to its projection capabilities (commando RHIB), it has a first-rate deterrent capability through its anti-surface warfare and anti-aircraft weapons systems.
Among the ship’s major innovations and capabilities are:
• a very versatile design to configure the ship depending on the missions
• a large 360 ° panoramic bridge
• a rapid launch and recovery system at the stern for 2 RHIBs
• a C-Sharp hull form providing optimized range and sea-keeping
OPV 58 S main specifications
- Length: 62.20 meters
- Width: 9.50 meters
- Draft: 2.90 meters
- Speed: 21 knots
- Range / Endurance: 25 days, 4,500 nautical miles @ 12 knots
- Hull / Structure: Steel / Aluminum
- Accommodations: 48 (24 crew + 24 mission personnel)
- Stern ramp for two RHIBs
The OPV 58 S will be fitted with missile systems, a first for both the Senegalese Navy and the Piriou shipyard. The weapons suite of the OPV 58 S appears to consist of:
- A 76mm main gun by Leonardo
- 4x Marte MK2/N anti-ship missiles placed forward
- 2x 12.7mm manned manchine guns on the bridge wings
- 2x 20mm remote weapon stations (Narwhal by Nexter) at the back of the bridge
- A SIMBAD-RC surface to air system by MBDA
- POLARIS combat management system
The rise of Senegal’s Naval Forces
Faced with an ever growing piracy threat in the Gulf of Guinea, Senegal (like other countries in the area such as Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana or Nigeria) is pursuing efforts to boost its naval capabilities. In addition to these three OPVs, Senegal is also procuring Shaldag MK II Fast Patrol Craft and two OPVs from Israel.
Other modern units include a large OPV procured from French shipyard OCEA, the Fouladou, commissioned in 2016 and two smaller patrol vessels (by Raidco Marine) procured in 2015 and 2013. Senegal is also procuring Maritime Patrol Aircraft. The OPV 58 S produced by Piriou will be fitted with missile systems which will be a new capability for this rising navy.
The modern naval vessels recently procured from France and Israel will help the Senegalese Navy in securing the sea lanes and maritime approaches in Senegal’s littoral and exclusive economic zones. They are the right assets to counter piracy and illegal fishing and conduct maritime security missions in the Gulf of Guinea.